Sherburne — Students in the microbiology class at the State University of New York’s Norwich Campus at Morrisville, taught by Associate Professor Eric Diefenbacher, pioneered the first protist research conducted at the Rogers Center for Environmental Education in Sherburne.
Over 60 protist genera were discovered during the survey. The results will help further the educational mission of the Rogers Center.
Students used hand-held microscopes and mobile phones to take images and classify the diverse protists that inhabit the area.
“The lab gives students, especially nursing students, the experience of seeing the behind-the-scenes work of discovering organisms that can cause human health problems, such as algal blooms and other pathogenic protists,” says Diefenbach. Ha said.
Norwich’s Diefenbach utilizes a hands-on classroom approach and regular undergraduate work in its courses. This gives students valuable field experience and the opportunity to explore and develop research skills for their future careers, while also benefiting the community.
Students will do fieldwork and research in a variety of fields.
Locations such as Rogers Environmental Center, Owens West Wildlife Management
Morrisville area, and labs on campus.the work
they provide important
Findings of the sites they visited and scientific communication skills for the students involved.
Students in Diefenbach’s class participate in other projects at the Rogers Center. In his herpetology class, he conducted a study on observing two types of his aquatic ROVs, also known as aquatic drones, to determine if they would allow for accurate species identification of turtles. This research led to this class being published in the Journal of North American Herpetology.
In 2018, his fall herpetology class work was published in the scientific journals IRCF Reptiles & Amphibians Conservation and entitled “Using Data Loggers to Investigate Temperature Trends Above and Below Cover Objects Used by Plethodontid Salamanders”. Published in Natural History.
In addition to his published work, Diefenbacher students have explored the health of aquatic systems, the natural history of crayfish, salamander communities, microclimate research, and, most recently, the effectiveness of aquatic drones for freshwater turtle surveys. It has won presentation awards at several local and statewide research conferences.
Diefenbacher works with local environmental agencies, non-profits, school districts and teachers to enhance our educational offerings on a wide range of scientific topics and welcomes new collaborations from a variety of disciplines.
A biobiologist specializing in herpetology, Diefenbacher teaches at the Morrisville and Norwich campuses.