$160 – $400

It's all in the dirt: Exploration of soil microbe ecosystems

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Baltimore Under Ground Science Space

101 North Haven Street

#105

Baltimore, MD 21224

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***BRING A FRIEND AND YOU BOTH GET $100 off of this class! Please email slaun@bugssonline.org (Sarah) to inquire about discount code. (Sorry members this does not include you since you are already getting a super fantastic discount!)


Find out the dirt of what's in the dirt!!

As we all know, living organisms do not live in isolation. Ecosystems are teeming with millions of organisms all living together, and changes to the environment can profoundly alter which species are able to grow and thrive. Microbes are important components of all ecosystems, helping to recycle nutrients and keep the environment healthy. So, what happens if you take the ecosystem into the lab? Winogradsky columns can help us do that! These columns, invented by Sergei Winogradsky in the late 1800’s, is a microbial ecosystem in a container. Basically, you add your soil, a carbon source, a cellulose source, and a sulfur source and some water, set this up in a bright window sill or with direct light and wait. Over time you can watch as the column changes and grows into a rainbow of colors as millions of different bacteria grow and thrive. In this class you’ll perform lab work to isolate the microbes present in these columns and sequence and identify those microbes. Discover the diversity of bacteria that live in this ecosystem and how they change in response to nutrients (different types of process fuel vs. natural carbon) or different sources of cellulose, including cellulose produced in the lab at BUGSS!

Isolate and process DNA from your samples. Use the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to amplify the DNA of the microbes. Determine the different species across different columns. For those interested in programming and computational biology, the entire class will learn how to analyze the sequencing data and perform comparative analysis to uncover further information (don’t worry, this class is appropriate for beginners!).

IMPORTANT: We will have already prepared columns to isolate from. If you happen to already have a column growing or can create one now to grow in time for class, you are welcomed to study OWN soil microbes. Perhaps analyze the difference in the soil in your garden? Interested in some particular microbes that might enhance the growth of your vegetables or roses? Or you could compare different types of soils like a clay soil base vs. more sandy soil. Or you can always use our columns to prospect for microbes that could degrade carbon from different fuel types or different sources of cellulose.

ULTRA IMPORTANT: We must have at least 10 people sign up for this class BY MARCH 9th in order for the class to happen. If we do not get 10 people you will be refunded your money. However, don’t let that happen! Share this class far and wide, help us spread the word so that anyone can test their own microbiome!

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Date and Time

Location

Baltimore Under Ground Science Space

101 North Haven Street

#105

Baltimore, MD 21224

View Map

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