Macroinvertebrates are readily available at the undergraduate level and provide an indicator of stream quality. DNA barcoding is the use of a sequence comparison of a specific region of the DNA that allows for classification of the organism. In most undergraduate courses, the discussion of genetic identification and stream quality assessment remain separated concepts. However, joining these lectures into a three-part laboratory learning module could bridge this gap and prepare students for a real-world application. During the first week of the proposed activity, students perform taxonomic identification. The following week, they perform a DNA isolation. In the last week, they use polymerase chain reaction and electrophoresis, possibly with a lecture examining a barcode for an example of the final outcome. In our research, we have determined effective methods that will allow all three sections to be completed in three three-hour undergraduate lab sessions, with minor modifications. Furthermore, the data we collected showed 54% efficiency. The methods we outline introduce new techniques and skills that prepare students for next-level education or employment and attempt to integrate ecological or environmental analysis with genetic analysis and DNA extraction techniques, making this lab series worth exploring at the undergraduate level.

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