The first of two synergistic BioSynC meetings relating to the central theme of an integrative systematic study of the liverwort genus Frullania was held over two days on September 29 and 30, 2012. This first meeting brought together a novel network of students, scientists, educators, and administrators to lay out a framework to increase student participation in the scientific process using Frullania as a case study. The meeting centred around discussion of pilot studies that had been conducted at Wilbur Wright College, Northeastern Illinios University and The Field Museum. Students conducted measurements and observations of morphological characters from digitally rendered images from scientific collections housed at The Field Museum. Data obtained by students will be directly used for biodiversity research. Two students from Northeastern Illinois University, Oana Vadineanu and Lisa Murata provided an excellent presentation outlining the pilot studies and provided important recommendations to be implemented in further studies.
There were many exciting outcomes from the meeting. Dr. Thomas Campbell (Northeastern Illinois University) announced that the project will be implemented in an introductory biology course including six classes and 144 students. Dr. Campbell was one of the convenors and early adopters of the project in its pilot phase. Associate Professor Michael Bryson (Roosevelt University) and his student Kristina Lugo, together with Beth Crownover (Director of the Education Department, Field Museum) are spearheading a K-12 component. Dr. Matt Greif (Wilbur Wright College) will continue a service learning component in one of his courses. Dr. Greif is co-principal investigator on the NSF funded project and was also a convenor of the meeting. Dr. Arfon Smith (Director of Citizen Science) and his team at Adler Planetarium are producing a prototype for an online version of the pilot - is a particularly exciting phase of the project. Dr. von Konrat and participants plan on publishing detailed information about their novel network and findings in a White Paper later this year.
For more information on this exciting meeting see the meeting's full agenda, Matt von Konrat's (The Field Museum) blog, and Associate Professor Mike Bryson's (Roosevelt University) blog.
Photographer - Matt Greif. Location - Field Museum.