Exposing students to carnivorous plants within course-based undergraduate research can heighten student interest in plants and create a foundation on which to build future student projects. Carnivorous plants derive nutrients by trapping animals, but unlike most other predators, they lack mobility and are thought to attract prey through a combination of visual and olfactory cues. As part of a semester-long undergraduate research project for a junior/senior-level plant ecology class, students used carnivorous plants and artificial traps to test the importance of visual cues in the capture of wild-type and visually impaired (w1118) Drosophila melanogaster. Over the 13-week semester, students worked in groups to generate questions, design experiments, analyze data, and present results both orally and in a written manuscript. A major focus was developing students' ability to compare their results with the literature. Upon completion, manuscripts were uploaded to a digital archive for use by future students in designing projects. This database of readily accessible past projects provides students with an accessible literature base that enables them to build upon previous work in a way that more accurately reflects real-world research.
Fatal Attraction: Visual Cues in Attracting Prey to Carnivorous Plants
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Steven L. Matzner, Cathryn L. Carney, Deborah A. Hagemeier, Cecelia Miles; Fatal Attraction: Visual Cues in Attracting Prey to Carnivorous Plants. The American Biology Teacher 1 April 2019; 81 (4): 269–277. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/abt.2019.81.4.269
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