Randy DeJong teamed up with student Abby Stapleton to observe the interactions
between bacteriophages (viruses that infect bacteria) and their bacteria hosts. The project utilized genomics to observe bacteriophage abundance, important genes within bacteria for these relationships and horizontal gene transfer events.
Ryan Bebej worked with student Josiah Valk to analyze a wealth of data concerning the evolution of modern whales from their terrestrial ancestors in order to make inferences about the behavioral capabilities of early fossil whales.
Keith Grasman and students Monica Langeland, Stacy Hooker and Dorthea Leisman did research funded by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Two related projects investigated the effects of pollution on fish-eating birds such as gulls, terns, and loons in Michigan and New York. The team did field work involving measuring birds and taking blood samples and analysis back in the lab.
Dave Koetje, Herb Fynewever and Amy Wilstermann worked with students Ye In Oh and Nate Buteyn to assess the effectiveness of investigative labs in Biology 224 and 225. The project involved reviewing data from three past semesters and working towards a new lab manual, as well as sharing their findings in the form of manuscripts for publication in professional journals.
Darren Proppe conducted research with students Leanna DeJong and Thuy-Nhi Nguyen at Au Sable Institute to test whether playing the conspecific (male bird species) songs of five bird species increases establishment rates of those species in Northern Michigan. The students also received course credit while gaining research experience.
Calvin students Tran Nguyen and Abuoma Nwadike did research with Anding Shen. They are investigating how HIV remains as a latent reservoir in resting T helper cells to ensure viral persistence in patients that have undergone treatment with highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). The students did tissue culture and learned valuable research skills.
John Ubels worked with students on two research projects. The first project with student Peter Boersma, looked at the effect of UVB radiation on the corneal epithelium of the eye, and whether or not more K+ in the tears will protect the eye from self-induced cell death. The second project, with Professor Loren Haarsma of the physics department and student Jodie DeVries, focuses on the same topic, but involves electrophysiology to investigate.
Randy Van Dragt has supervsed three projects this past summer. The first was in collaboration with students Jonathan Knott and David Postma, who worked on assessing the growth of a small woodlot on Calvin’s ecosystem preserve where they conducted the 40-year census of the forest populations. The second project with student Cassidy Richard involved examining the insect population at the restored prairie at Flat Iron Lake, and how it changes and adapts to fires that help maintain the grasslands. Lastly, in conjunction with students Marissa Beversluis and Karl Boldenow, Randy has overseen land management of the ecosystem preserve on Calvin’s campus.
Dave Warners also participated in three summer projects. With students Kara Smit and Deanna Geelhoed and director of community engagement Gail Heffner, Dave investigated the restoration of native plants and native habitats in urban areas that are on and off of Calvin’s campus. He also worked with student Caitlyn Strikwerda to document a variety of responses to climate change exhibited by the diversity of plants at the Flat Iron Lake preserve. Lastly, Dave continued his work on assessing stream health of the local watershed, Plaster Creek, with student Andre Otte.
John Wertz and student Jonathan Lin worked on characterizing the gut bacteria of cephalote ants, a bacterial community that appears to be a key to the survival of their host. They examined substrate use, products produced, growth in varying conditions and other assays to characterize the bacteria.