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Abstract Detail

BioQUEST Cirriculum Consortium Symposium

Donovan, Sam [1], Weisstein, Tony [2].

Introducing a Problem Space Approach to Undergraduate Problem Solving: Exploring the Phylogeography of the Invasive Species Tamarix.

Every year, some 30,000 species around the world go extinct. Of the 972 plant and animal species listed by the U.S. Endangered Species Act in 1996, approximately 400 were endangered primarily due to invasions by introduced species.
Members of the genus Tamarix, commonly known as saltcedar or tamarisk, comprise the second worst plant invasion in the United States. Tamarix species are native to a region stretching from southern Europe and northern Africa across the Middle East and Asia to Japan. In the 1800s, several species were introduced to the U.S. as ornamentals and for erosion control. The genus's hardiness, wide dispersal, and high seed output helped it spread rapidly. It now occupies over one million acres of habitat across 34 states, and is the dominant streamside species throughout the American Southwest.
We will use the Tamarix Problem Space at http://bioquest.org/bedrock/problem_spaces/tamarix/index.php to introduce:
1. How phylogeography (the analysis of genetic data in a geographic context) can help answer questions about species' population history and structure.
2. How students can explore the genetic distribution of Tamarix in both the U.S. and Asia and assess the relative roles of contiguous range expansion, long-distance dispersal, and habitat fragmentation in determining its current distribution.
3. The use of bioinformatics tools and methods to analyze sequence data and build phylogenetic trees in Biology Workbench.

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1 - University of Pittsburgh, Department of Instruction and Learning, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
2 - Truman State University, Life Sciences, 100 E. Normal, Kirksville, MO, 63501, USA

Problem Space
problem solving

Presentation Type: Education Forum Session:Breakout Session
Session: F3
Location: Stevens 2/Hilton
Date: Saturday, July 7th, 2007
Time: 2:00 PM
Number: F3002
Abstract ID:849

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