American Society of Plant Biologists 
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Poster: Education and outreach

Abs # 1159: Investigating the induction of the CAM photosynthetic pathway in Mesembryanthemum crystallinum , an inquiry-based laboratory.

Presenter: Verhoeven, Amy S., Contact Author
AuthorsVerhoeven, Amy S. (A)  
Affiliations: (A): University of St Thomas, Biology Dept.

The use of inquiry-based laboratories in biology courses are replacing the "canned labs" of the past as a method of enhancing student interest and learning. Although this method of learning is gaining popularity, there are few published examples of inquiry-based laboratories for mid or upper level plant biology courses. I have developed an inquiry-based laboratory which examines the induction of the CAM photosynthetic pathway in Mesembryanthemum crystallinum (the ice plant). This is a long-term laboratory project, which involves an introductory laboratory, reading of primary literature, and student designed experiments that take 4-5 weeks for completion. In an introductory lab, students monitor tissue acidity of known CAM plants over the course of a day, in order to familiarize themselves with the daily acid fluctuations in CAM plants. Students then use tissue acid fluctuations as a tool for monitoring the onset of CAM photosynthesis in the ice plant. Students design and implement experiments that probe some aspect of the induction process, and then collect data over the next four weeks. Student projects have examined application of various plant hormones, examining stresses other than water stress, and examinations of the localization of the onset of CAM induction within the plant. Examples of student projects and feedback from students will be presented.

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