Date of Award

2017

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Applied Medical Science

First Advisor

S. Monroe Duboise, PhD

Keywords

science education, collaboration, Next Generation Science Standards, Applied Immunology and Infectious Disease, Applied Medical Science

Abstract

The National Research Council’s (NRC) A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas describes a vision of what it means to be proficient in science. The project discussed in this thesis was developed with a NIH SEPA Grant 8R25OD010937 to the Virology and Electron Microscopy Laboratory at the University of Southern Maine (USM) under the direction of Dr. S. Monroe Duboise. The goal of the project was to explore using discovery of extreme environment bacteria and their bacteriophages as a model for using the three dimensions of learning to teach Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Specifically, bacteria were isolated from the haloalkaline environment of a soda lake and the acidic environment of fermented liquids. The isolated bacteria were then used as potential hosts to detect associated bacteriophage. Through the practice of isolating bacteria and detecting their bacteriophage, the development of real world research techniques is established. As culture conditions are manipulated and resulting effects are observed, fundamental knowledge is gained and crosscutting concepts are recognized. The key bacteria isolated in this project, identified through 16s rDNA comparison, most closely resembled Alkalimonas collagenimarina and Gluconobacter oxydans. They were isolated at room temperature, making them easy to maintain for study, and they were partially classified through gramstaining, compound light microscopy, and manipulation of culture contents through pH, carbon source, and salinity. Once genetically identical colonies were established, they were used as hosts for bacteriophage discovery. Bacteriophage were isolated readily from the haloalkaline environment; however, they were more difficult to isolate from acidic environments. Using microscopy, microbiology, and basic biotechnology to isolate, compare, and identify bacteria and their bacteriophage from samples collected in an extreme environment is an approach that can help students to develop a multilevel understanding of the effects that environmental conditions have on cell survival. With support from a university or biotechnology company, “Discovery of an Extremophile Bacteria and Its Bacteriophage” can be developed as an engaging model system for a middle school or high school classroom.