Conservation Biology Research
Under the direction of Patty B. Smith, one to four students enroll in three credit hours of Undergraduate Research in Conservation Biology or Plant Conservation. These students develop and present technical posters/papers of their research experiences and/or projects for local and state meetings. The Cross Timbers ecoregion located on TCC West Campus and Oklahoma Centennial Botanical Garden in west Tulsa provides a unique opportunity to biosurvey a native landscape. The Cross Timbers are pristine, ancient forests, which have existed long before European settlement of North America. The biosurvey includes collecting, preserving, and archiving voucher specimens. Voucher specimens serve as permanent records of the biological diversity, such as plants and animals. Also, other living organisms, such as protozoans and fungi, are collected and/or documented. Additionally, tree-ring dating (dendrochronology) analyses are recorded for ancient post oaks and other trees found at these study sites. Recently, TCC West Campus built a contemporary greenhouse for teaching and research experiences. Native plants from the Cross Timbers and prairie ecoregions are propagated from local stock (seeds and/or cuttings) and transplanted to West Campus flowerbeds. For example, undergraduate research students designed and developed the Native American Flowerbed, which showcases local plants used for food, medicine, and spiritual ceremonies by Native Americans. For community service projects, undergraduate research students assist in the native plant propagation for and design and development of the West Campus flowerbeds, crop propagation for local community gardens, and plant signage at the Oklahoma Centennial Botanical Garden.
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