Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education
Species recognition is a crucial component for many types of biological studies. To that end, broadly trained students must be able to accurately identify many different types of organisms. Courses that focus on learning the names of different species traditionally rely on preserved specimens viewed during class or laboratory time. Unfortunately, reliance on preserved specimens comes with many challenges in providing students with an optimal learning experience. The curriculum activity described here uses a modified PowerPoint file (species-recognition program—SRP) as a means of helping students learn to recognize and identify fishes based on subtle visual cues. Our results indicate that students were better able to identify fish species when using the SRP as a learning approach than when using preserved specimens. We suggest that the SRP approach to species recognition is an effective, viable alternative or supplement to preserved specimens that can be easily implemented in any course that emphasizes species identification. Information and materials are provided to enable instructors to create their own species-recognition programs.
Published in the Journal of Microbiology and Biology Education at http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/jmbe.v17i2.967
Kelsch, Steve and Carmichael, Jeffrey, "Species-recognition program: a computer-assisted approach to recognizing species" (2016). Biology Faculty Publications. 1.