Two University of Illinois Springfield professors are the recipients of a 2009 Editor’s Choice Award from MicrobeLibrary as announced by the American Society for Microbiology. The Editor’s Choice Awards were created to spotlight learning resources that demonstrate excellence in teaching and learning in microbiology and biology education.
Dr. Michael Lemke, associate professor of biology, and Dr. Keith Miller, professor of computer science, received the 2009 Visual Collection Award for Video for their work on a video called “Mud and Microbes: A Time-Lapse Photographic Exploration of a Sediment Bacterial Community,” created in collaboration with Roza George of the University of Georgia and former UIS undergraduate.
Lemke and George photographed a window pane of mud each day for one and a half months, and Miller condensed the shots into a 90-second video. Noticeable changes can be seen in the mud during that time due to the growth of microorganisms with a variety of different colors.
“Even though most people know that microorganisms are all around and in us, we often don’t have a good appreciation for them because they are so small,” noted Lemke. “Once students see the changes and start to understand how relatively quickly the microbes are changing their environment, you have a chance to teach the chemistry and biology behind the changing colors.”
The simple experiment shown in the video highlights the fact that tiny microbes are vital to earth even though they go unnoticed by most people, Miller added.
“The video is short, and we hope it is engaging and entertaining. But we also hope it gets people interested in what is going on inside the mud that makes all those strange colors appear,” Miller said.
MicrobeLibrary is a founding partner of the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s BiosciEdNet Collaborative, a portal sponsored by the National Science Foundation’s National Science Digital Library.
The American Society for Microbiology is the oldest and largest single life science membership organization in the world, composed of more than 43,000 scientists and health professionals.
For more information, contact Dr. Lemke at 217/206-7339 or Dr. Miller at 217/206-7327.