Biology Class Studies Fungi on Campus

Dr. Mac’s Microbiology class photo with rocks bearing lichens.

Dr. Mac’s Microbiology class photo with rocks bearing lichens.

Dr. Chris McAllister’s Fall 2013 Biol. 2124 (microbiology) class recently studied the Kingdom Fungi in the laboratory and field. The students examined lichens (a composite of cyanobacteria and fungus) on rocks on the McCurtain County campus (see group photograph).

They also made wet mount slides of fungi from a bracket fungi infested with another fungus (photographs). “This kingdom is understudied and in need of taxonomic revision,” McAllister says.

Photograph showing fungi growing off bracket fungus and microscopic view.

Photograph showing fungi growing off bracket fungus and microscopic view.

The class is doing a survey of organisms studied in microbiology. They have examined the Kingdoms Protista, Plantae, Monera and Fungi. Future labs will include looking at parasites, both helminths and arthropods.

The second half of the lab will involve “real” microbiology, McAllister says, with students doing exercises on plating and Gram staining microbes, growing them on special media, and doing biochemical tests on cultures. Students keep a journal throughout the semester that summarizes each laboratory.

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