Soil Ecology-Claymation Videos

Digging Soil- (1)

Teachers of ecology and basic biology will definitely want to check out Cornell Unviersity’s Max Helmberger and his exceptional claymation videos.

These videos on a variety of topics such as The Soil Food Web and nematode’s are short, interesting and informative. Showing them to your class as an additional resource for an ecology unit will certainly help enrich the subject.

Check out Chrisna Ramanujan’s piece in the Cornell Chronicle for more info and links to the videos.

Questions for Discussion:

1.How long does it take Max to create his two minute videos?

2. What childhood experiences inspired his current work?

3. What is a nematode?

4. How does it infect its host?

5. How would you use these videos in your classroom?

Bee Research from Montana State University

For an insightful look at the effect of virus on bee pollination, check out Michelle Flenniken’s article.¬†

The article describes the work of three Montana State University graduate students who presented at an international pollinator research conference. The students highlighted research that showed the impact of Lake Sinai viruses, which have been discovered in bee colonies internationally, including Montana, and are associated with significant colony loss.

This colony loss, on the average of 33% per year is a concern for “scientists” and “people who care about food security” according to the article.

One of the researchers, Laura Brutscher, investigates which genes are expressed when the bee is infected with a pathogen, helping to understand how they fight off the virus at the cellular level.

The article includes a link to additional pollinator research occurring at Montana State University, which educators might find helpful for additional enrichment information. It includes excellent research reports including a bee identification guide- very cool! Biology and Ecology teachers will find this information especially helpful.

snow-and-plants-at-furstenberg

Questions for Discussion

  1. What are the Lake Sinai viruses?
  2. What are the implications of colony loss for food security?
  3. What is the process of pollination?
  4. What was the hypothesis that Laura Brutscher investigated?
  5. How do you imagine this data was actually collected?
  6. According to the additional information from the pollinator research link at Montana State University what are some “pollinator friendly ¬†plants?”
  7. What implications can you imagine for studying how bees immune systems respond to viruses?
  8. What else does this inspire you to “dream, learn, do?”