Eric Collins Extra Credit

Summary:  Ice can affect how microbes grow and interact with their environment, with different types of microbes inhabiting either the same patch of ice or various patches of ice. The water flows through due to the currents, which can transport some microbes to a new environment. Collins examined the microbial diversity in the Arctic and how the ocean currents effect that diversity. By doing so, he was able to map out not only the temperature variations and depth of the ocean in his study areas, but also where certain microbial strains may be.

Reflection:  Eric Collins’ presentation was really easy to follow and understand what his study was about and what the results were. He provided sufficient background information to understand how the different regions that he collected his samples from would be effected. Throughout the presentation, Collins incorporated some light humor, which I felt helped keep the engagement of the audience. The connection between this seminar and class is looking at how different environmental conditions, such as temperature, salinity, amount of nutrients, can effect microbial growth. Depending on what is in the environment, various microbial strains will thrive and grow better than other strains based on their needs. One question that came to mind while listening to his presentation is: could this study lead to future environmental studies to find out if there are microbes that could provide benefits for decreasing the rate at which the sea ice keeps shrinking?

Lab Report Guidelines and Info

Below  are links to helpful resources as you prepare your lab report.

Powerpoint lecture from Feb. 22 on Lab Report Guidelines

Grading rubric

Lab report writing tips

Sample lab reports from previous classes  – note: these are from 2 years ago before we started doing genome sequencing so identifications are based only upon 16S rRNA sequences  and genome analyses are missing. Also, note that these are not necessarily perfect papers but were of good quality and can serve as general examples of how to approach this assignment.

Sample 1

Sample 2

Sample 3

Selected chapters from “Writing Science” book by Joshua Schimel (please excuse the low-quality scans)



Extra Credit: Simon Lax

Simon Lax’s seminar was about microbiomes and the possibility of affiliating certain microbes to a specific person, like a fingerprint. Lax’s research on the importance of this “microbe fingerprint” came from both a forensic and health perspective. In a forensics type study, by comparing samples from someone’s shoe and the floor, Lax could essentially get an idea of who walked where. In a health study, Lax was able to see how microbes colonized in a hospital setting. Essentially, he could see how microbes in a room became more similar to the occupant over time. Further, he did a test of skin microbiomes and their relation to the patient’s diagnosis.

Our microbiology course made it clear to me that microbes are everywhere and essentially rule the world. However, I was unaware that microbes could be specific to a type of person and their environment. I always assumed microbes were random but it now makes sense that their being has some kind of order. This seminar related specifically to the lecture about viruses, specifically Norovirus, and how it is common on cruise ships. It makes sense such a segregated place such as a cruise ship would be prone to such outbreaks. A cruise ship is similar to one’s home which, as Lax pointed out, is a place where eventually everyone and most surfaces come to have similar microbes.

“Extra Credit Simon Lax”


The seminar was about the microbial interactions taking place indoors as opposed to a more widely studied interactions taking place outside.  Though the seminar was fast-paced and a little above my pay-grade (of knowledge, I mean), I was able to discern two main aspects of his study.  The first part of his study was the one in which he sampled from 7 different homes across the US.  They varied not only in location and occupancy number, but also whether or not pets were included.  He expanded his “microbial fingerprint” study to include his own interactions with his cellphone.  The second part of his study was the the one where he looked at how microbes colonize and move about in the hospital environment.  He did this as there is a growing concern for hospital-aquired illnesses such as MRSA.

The one particular thing I found most interesting about the seminar is the forensics aspect of the first part of his study.  I think it’s fascinating to consider that we as individuals might have our own unique microbial signature or at least be able to distinguish between individuals based on that signature.  I have no critical comments about his material (what I could follow, being rather newly exposed  with the vastness that is microbiology). We have spoken briefly about anti-biotic resistant microbes in class, and it was interesting to hear him note at the end about a possible future study of antibiotic resistance in microbes located in hospitals.  One question I would have is if it is feasible that sometime in the near future that microbial “fingerprints” would be used in real world applications such as crime scene analysis and processing.

Open Lab Hours

Open lab hours can be found here.

The times listed are when you  can come in to the microbiology lab to check cultures, streak plates, and do other follow-up activities required outside of normal lab hours. The names listed next to the times are the people who will be there to oversee open lab.

Important: Do not enter the lab outside of these designated hours. You may enter during other BIOL 342 lab sessions (times are below) and for a portion of the BIOL 240 lab, but never during other classes held in that room. Whenever an approved open lab time happens while another class is in session, be careful not to disturb them.

A1: Introduction

Hi everyone, my name is Grace Lund. I am currently a biology major with hopes of going on to get a degree in veterinary medicine. Im a life-long Alaskan, born and raised in Talkeetna. I have grown up off the grid in a subsistence lifestyle and my hobbies include hunting, fishing, and loving any animal I come in contact with.