High School Outreach in Marine Microbiology

SIMCO is providing research experiences in microbial biology to 11th grade high school biology students from Athens, GA. Students attending Cedar Shoals High School participate annually in a weekend trip to the University of Georgia Marine Institute on Sapelo Island to take part in SIMCO research and can be selected for 8-week summer internships with SIMCO researchers. Cedar Shoals students visit Sapelo Island in early April each year, where they initiate a project to isolate coastal marine bacteria and follow up in classroom exercises using PCR, sequencing, and bioinformatic analysis to identify their isolates. Funding is provided by NSF.

High School AP Biology Resources

Three high school-level laboratory exercises for AP Biology courses were developed collaboratively by SIMCO researchers and teachers.

The molecular biology exercise is a four-part series that includes hands-on experience with bacterial cultures, DNA extraction, PCR amplification, and gel electrophoresis. Students work with isolates they obtain themselves (we use bacteria cultured from Sapelo Island seawater, but any lake or soil sample will do) to amplify the 16S rRNA gene. Access to a gel electrophoresis system and a thermal cycler is required. In a fifth part of the series, students prepare PCR products for sequencing and (if funding is available for sequencing at a commercial center) bioinformatic analysis.

The bioinformatics exercise is a five-part series that gives students hands-on experience with nucleic acid and protein sequences, and reinforces knowledge of major metabolic pathways. Using genome sequences of marine bacteria isolated from coastal seawater at Sapelo Island, students use BLAST analysis to identify genes required for glycolysis, the citrate cycle, and oxidative phosphorylation.

The argumentation exercise helps students become familiar with the major components of scientific research.

Inquiry Approach to Molecular Biology with Salt Marsh Bacteria
   ›› Molecular Biology Module

Understanding and Analysis of Genomes
   ›› Bioinformatics Module

Argumentation and Explanation
   ›› Arguing Over Marine Bacteria Module

Cedar Shoals AP Biology Class - Field Trip 2015