bioCEED news

Gaining experience as a researcher through UNISprout!

The first UNISprout project was successfully completed at UNIS this fall! Arctic Biology bachelor students Sari Dötterer and Annie Colgan participated in a project to process and identify bryophyte and lichen samples under the mentorship of Associate Professor Simone Lang.

UNISprout is a student led bioCEED initiative developed by former bioCEED student representative, Ørjan Vabø. Inspired by the bioSPIRE, a similar program running at the University of Bergen, the goal of UNISprout is to give bachelor students relevant practical training. Participating bachelor students spend up to 40 hours assisting Masters students, PhD students or Professors with their research. The bachelor students receive training and valuable experience doing real research and the supervisors benefit from having careful and curious lab or field assistants.

This fall, Sari and Annie assisted Simone Lang in processing and identifying bryophyte and lichen samples, which had been collected on a field cruise during the summer. They learned the proper technique for pressing samples and preparing herbarium vouchers. They dissected bryophyte shoots and very carefully prepared leaf-cross sections for identification – bryophyte identification is often based on the shape of individual cells!

Sari and Annie leave behind them over 100 samples now neatly packed in herbarium vouchers and two exhibition boxes with bryophyte and lichen samples, which will be used in future courses to introduce students to common bryophytes and lichens.

The project was a huge success for all involved and it is very exciting to have UNISprout up and running at the University Centre in Svalbard!

by: Anne Marie Colgan – student representatives, bioCEED

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