University of Rochester

Currents--University of Rochester newspaper

On The Hunt For Bugs On the Hunt for Bugs hspace=
Stalking the high grass at the edges of Genesee Valley Park on June 25, a dozen high school teachers swipe nets at insects as part of a four-day program set up by Jack Werren, professor of biology, and doctoral student Michael Clark. The program, called the Symbiosis Workshop, is designed to give local and regional biology teachers hands-on experience doing real biological research so they can bring their experiences back to their students in the fall.
With their six-legged acquisitions in tow, the teachers return to the lab to identify their catches by sight before getting down to the molecular level by sequencing the bugs’ DNA and the DNA of any parasites living within them. Once the teachers have the key parts of the genomes laid out, they compare their results to those of known species to identify the exact animal, as well as its parasites. Armed with that information, they can figure out how their bugs are related to others and fit into the entire evolutionary scheme.
“This program gives these teachers a chance to do real science that spans every aspect of biology,” says Werren. “They get to see how it all fits together, from biodiversity, to genetic data, to evolution.”
Pictured left to right: Michael Occhino and Eric Dahlstrom.
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