Incorporating research experiences into undergraduate education is an effective way to foster interest in science and introduce students to the scientific process. We describe an original research investigation into the effect of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi on seed germination. Mycorrhizal fungi form symbiotic relationships with plants roots, and although they have been shown to benefit plant growth, their effect on seed germination is less well understood. In this lab activity, students incubate seeds in the presence and absence of AM fungal inocula and compare the germination rates (% seeds germinated) and germination times (days to germination) between experimental (+AM fungi) and control (−AM fungi) groups. Students present their results through a group-written report, in addition to individually submitted assignments. This lab activity provides students the opportunity to learn about species interactions, sterile technique, plant development, data presentation and interpretation, and scientific communication.

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