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Multi-user Classroom and Multi-purpose Lab

guidelines for use of the nulti-user classroom

Archbold was awarded (2000) National Science Foundation funding (DBI-Field Station and Marine Labs #0084141) to improve research and education infrastructure and enhance educational opportunities at Archbold Biological Station. These facilities, a multi-user classroom and a multi-purpose lab including a wet lab area (descriptions below), represent a significant upgrade for visiting classes and visiting researchers. Our goals, with these new facilities, are to expand educational opportunities and promote collaborative research. The new facility was opened in March 2001, and all equipment is now available.

A new fee structure has been implemented to help defray the costs of maintaining the labs and facilities and recharging supplies (see fee schedule). Furthermore visiting classes, researchers, and agency workshops must make advanced reservations with the Facilities Coordinator for use of these two areas. Advanced reservations also will be required for use of some equipment (e.g. compound and dissecting scopes, growth chamber) to balance use between visiting classes, researchers and resident scientists. Faculty with visiting classes and visiting investigators will be required to attend a quick orientation to the new facilities and be approved for use of the labs and associated equipment. Clear guidelines for the use and care of equipment and facilities are available and are posted in the labs. Faculty and visiting investigators will be required to abide by these guidelines. Faculty and visiting investigators may be held responsible for any equipment breakage or losses during their stay in the labs, if negligent or not following guidelines.

A) The multi-user, 20-seat (maximum) classroom, with AV equipment and computer network access, is capable of hosting (a) undergraduate university and community college capstone field/laboratory courses emphasizing inquiry-based learning, (b) graduate level courses integrating experimental design and orientation to field and laboratory research, (c) K-12 programs including Grades 3-5, 7-12 year-old summer Scrub Camp, and middle school honor program, (d) workshops for teachers, (e) workshops for agency personnel or conservation organizations, and f) volunteer training. This 26' x 27' classroom has a flexible layout of 10 tables, 20 chairs, a 25' bench-counter with 4 cabinets for secure storage, as well as two computer workstations.

Equipment includes:

(1)AV overhead projector, slide projector, LCD projector, TV/VCR, 70" x 70" wall-ceiling screen, remote wall-mounted monitor, and cabling for monitor that connects to dissecting scope and compound microscopes in multi-user lab for projection to the classroom via remote monitor, to allow classes to view or manipulate specimens and conduct computer-aided taxonomic identification; (2) 8 Olympus SZ40 dissecting microscopes with fiber optic lamps, and an additional 5 lower quality dissecting microscopes on request; (3) First Aid cabinet and safety equipment (fire suppression, eye wash, germicide, etc.); (4) small equipment items including aspirators, black light and white sheet, white buckets, Burlese funnels, clipboards, compasses, flashlights and headlamps, funnels, killing jars, light table, loupes, Malaise trap, meter sticks, meter tapes, DBH tape, sweep nets, insect pinning boards, point maker, pinning blocks, pitfall traps, thermometers, tools, and UV light trap. (5) Basic teaching supplies will also be on hand including alcohol, flags, tape, tags, insect pins, points, maps (vegetation, fire, and road), microscope slides and cover slips, plaster of Paris, tanglefoot, solvent, vials, test tubes, and small and large jars.

Portable K-12 display material, which can be set up quickly in the Multi-user Classroom, (e.g. skulls, feathers, natural history curiosities, insect trays, posters, wall displays on portable tabletop display units) is stored in a 10' x 17' custom storage area adjacent to the classroom. Use of K-12 display material must be pre-arranged through the Education Coordinator.

B) The multi-purpose lab, with access to multi-user equipment, is suitable for very small college classes or students under direct faculty supervision, visiting scientists, graduates, and K-12 teacher-training. To reduce conflicts over access, visitors and graduates will not be resident in this lab; it will be for periodic access to equipment only. This lab is a general-purpose 27' x 12' lab with multi-user equipment. It is primarily for use by visiting researchers. It may be used by faculty with visiting classes, but should not be used by students except under direct supervision of faculty. The lab should be reserved in advance, and faculty and visiting researchers must attend orientation and be approved for use of any of this equipment. Specific times on some equipment items - the microscopes and the growth chambers - have to be reserved. This lab does not substitute for those who need the facilities of the existing Chemistry Lab, where the fume hood is located. Part of the multi-purpose lab is a small Wet Lab area for college classes under faculty supervision, and visiting aquatic scientists.

Equipment includes:

(1) Lab benches with balance vibration dampening mounts and below bench cabinets, (2) Olympus BX60 compound microscope with phase control, florescence capability, and table top vibration isolation plate, (3) Olympus SZX12 stereoscopic dissecting microscope with magnification range from 7-90X, including trinocular tube for mounting camera, (4) PM10SP photomicrographic system, (5) LE-Digital camera with monitor, which can be used as both video camera and 35mm, (6) Image Pro image analysis software, (7) Windows Workstation, (8) Fisher Isotemp Premium Forced Air Lab Oven (225-degree C, 5.0 ft3), (9) Fisher Isotemp Basic Muffle Furnace 0.14 ft3, (10) Wiley Cutting Mill, Tuttnauer/Brinkmann (11) table top autoclave, (12) Mettler Toledo AB104 analytical balance, (13) Ohaus TS2K precision top-loading balance, (14) Conviron I25L germinator, (15) Conviron E7/2 growth chamber, (16) Fischer Centrific 225 benchtop centrifuge and accessories, (17) Orion pH/mV meter 420A, (18) Campbell Scientific CR23X dataloggers, (19) Li-Cor 1905A quantum sensors (LI 905 A), and (20) safety equipment for drying ovens/muffle furnace (tongs, mittens, face shield, ceramic shelf), (21) Benchtop, double sink unit and below-bench storage, (22) a refrigerator, upright freezer and deionized water supply, (23) a variety of dip nets, trays, sieves and sifters, and (24) a small aquarium.


Archbold aims, with this new multi-user classroom and multi-purpose laboratory, to expand educational opportunities and promote collaborative research.

Expand Educational Opportunities

Increase student understanding of the ecosystem and improve the teaching environment by adding new multi-user equipment dedicated to the classroom and labs. Classes will no longer need to transport their equipment or borrow from resident investigators.

Capitalize on Archbold's existing high-end computer network to promote greater use of Intranet, Internet, and WWW technologies directly in the classroom for college classes, ecological workshops and K-12 groups. Student project planning will improve by: enhancing integration between on-site research and visiting classes; allowing classroom access to Archbold data, such as species lists; increasing the use of Web-based systematic and taxonomic resources; allowing classroom use of Archbold-prepared material to promote the use of inquiry-based learning.

Provide classroom AV equipment for multi-media presentations such as video (including Archbold's 19-minute "Islands in Time," overhead projector, LCD for PowerPoint, and a slide projector. This will reduce the traffic-jam in the Auditorium, the only other place with AV equipment.

Improve teaching facilities to expand student exposure to research opportunities in ecology, and enable project planning for undergraduates, graduates, K-12 students and teachers. Facilities will improve our ability to host teacher workshops.

Better accommodate university classes studying freshwater ecology by adding a customized Wet Lab area, useful as well as for K-12 and summer camp.

Improve safety for visitors by providing a designated Safety and First Aid area in the multi-user classroom with easy to operate, central safety facilities for visiting investigators, classes, and K-12.

Limit Chemistry Lab use, with associated chemical hazards and risk, to those who need full facilities.

Promote Collaborative Research

As well as supporting visiting classes, the addition of the Multi-Purpose Laboratory will provide a more conducive research environment for visiting investigators and graduate students who have had to rely on space in resident investigator labs (office space is available, lab bench space is very tight) and access to their general equipment (which is already heavily used). This will aid interdisciplinary work.

A high quality compound and dissecting microscope with image processing capabilities, will add new research opportunities for resident researchers, visiting investigators and students at Archbold. It will increase: computer taxonomic identification and understanding of basic biology (e.g. seed, pollen and insect specimens), biological inventorying, particularly acquisition of images for new species descriptions; and inclusion of images into Station reference collection.

Studies of the Station's seasonal wetlands and its sinkhole lake (Lake Annie) and MAERC wetlands by visiting investigators, adding important dimensions to studies of Archbold ecosystems.

Opportunities to host more training workshops for volunteers, non-profit organizations, mid-career professionals and agency staff (e.g. for Endangered Species Recovery Planning, plant identification, Regional Fire Strike teams) and ability to link research, education, conservation and land management activities.