Stratagies for Success in Bis2A# - Biology

Strategies for Success

Research shows that the most successful students are those who take charge of their own learning and follow a simple but disciplined strategy.

  • Identify the important vocabulary words and key concepts presented in lecture. Be able to recall this information from your memory and find opportunities to use it outside class: limiting your studying to reading the text book does not constitute effective studying in this class. To be successful, you need to be able to use the information. Therefore, we have designed interactive, question-driven lectures that will ask you to practice using your knowledge in both the lecture and your discussion sections.
  • Recall information from your memory regularly: effective studying cannot be done the day before the exam. If you want to master a concept, you need to work on problems that ask you to apply that concept at regular intervals throughout each week. (When you attend lecture regularly, we will help you do this during class time!)
  • Apply your knowledge to different problem types and new situations: we will give you the chance to do this in class and outside of class with pre and post study guide questions.

Investment of Time

To be successful in BIS2A, you need to make sure that you have sufficient time each week to devote to the class. Units at UC Davis are assigned based on time spent in class and time requirements associated with out-of-class work. For one lecture unit, you are expected to attend one hour of lecture per week and to spend about two hours per week out-of-class studying the material associated with this lecture. BIS2A has three hours of lecture per week, so you are expected to spend at least six additional hours per week studying the lecture material. BIS2A also has two hours of discussion per week. For the two discussion units, you are expected to attend one two-hour discussion section per week and to spend about four hours per week out-of-class studying the material associated with this discussion. So in total, you are expected to be spending -15 hours/week on BIS2A.

What is the most productive way to use this -15 hours/week? Material in BIS2A is cumulative and getting behind can have a major negative impact on your grade. Therefore, the key to being successful in BIS2A is to study the material every day. “Studying” includes any time spent learning the vocabulary, doing the reading and Nota Bene assignments, preparing for class by doing the pre-study guide, reviewing the slides and your notes after class, listening to the podcast, and completing the post-lecture study guide and homework assignments.

How to Prepare for Class

For each lecture, we have prepared a study guide designed to help you get the most out of the lecture.

  • One purpose of the study guide is to provide you with a targeted list of tasks that will help you prepare for lecture (a suggested "what to do" list). It will help you decide what to read, what vocabulary to review, and what skills/knowledge to review from earlier lectures. It will also help you get a perspective on what the instructor thinks is important for you to practice before coming to class.
  • Before coming to lecture, do the suggested assignments outlined in the study guide. The study guide contains the assigned reading (NB assignments and any supplemental reading), vocabulary lists and most importantly the Learning Goals for the lecture. The study guides are designed to help you prepare for lecture and EXAMS by helping you focus on what the instructor thinks is important for you to understand.
  • You are expected to do all of the assigned reading before coming to lecture. Take the commenting on these assignments in Nota Bene seriously. Read the whole document and comment on all parts - particularly the suggested discussion items. This is an opportunity to learn from and with your classmates and to use information you've learned from earlier lectures. Your thoughtful participation/commenting in the reading assignments will also help your instructors identify where you are having conceptual difficulty. If enough people appear to have similar questions in the readings the instructor will see this as a sign to spend some extra time the following day in class clarifying the points of most frequent and/or serious confusion.

Nota Bene

Nota Bene NB is an online resource for collaborative commenting and discussion. You will be required to contribute thoughtful comments, intelligent questions, or even answers to questions from your classmates on selected readings or movies. Your instructors will assign the relevant content via URLs. The reading and discussion forum are intended to help you prepare for lecture, learn the core course concepts, and to develop the intellectual skills we expect from our students. Assignments in NB will be graded and your score will depend on the quality of your contributions.

As your instructors and TAs, we look forward to reading the NB discussion. We will add our own comments, flag misconceptions, and highlight particularly good or informative comments or threads. We hope that you'll find the feedback useful. These discussions also help us to focus our limited time together in lecture on the content/skills that seem most confusing or difficult to master. As each class is slightly different, this will hopefully allow us to more effectively tailor lecture time for your needs.

What happens in lecture

Class time will be spent discussing course topics. Your instructor will expect that you have completed the assigned reading before you come to class and that you have attempted the assignments outlined in the pre-lecture study guide.

Active Learning in Lecture

One of the goals of the lecture is to give you the opportunity to practice your problem-solving skills. To facilitate this, the instructor will pose a question and ask the class to discuss the question in small groups. Following the discussion, you might be asked to "vote" on answer choices to problems by holding up a folded multicolor piece of paper (the paper serves as a cheap iClicker substitute), by raising your hand, or with an iClicker - the mode will depend on your instructor. This technique gives the instructor instant feedback about how the whole class doing on a specific topic.

For some questions, you or a classmate may be called upon to summarize your group's discussion and to share this information with the class. When someone is called on in class to answer a question, don't take a mental break! This is a time for you to listen to your classmate, compare their ideas with what you might have shared had you been called upon. Did your classmate have a particularly insightful idea? Perhaps that will help you. Did they have problems answering the question? Did you have similar difficulties with the question? This is not "dead" time - stay mentally involved and active. Your classmates are an important source of information and one of the great reasons we all get together in the same place.

Most students get a little nervous about answering questions in class. This is understandable. However, it is important to remember that your thoughts, no matter how well or ill-formed, are valuable contributions to the classroom discussion. The important thing is to try! Whether you are responsible for speaking or whether you are actively listening, view the questions covered in class as a clue from your instructors about what they think is important. Ask yourself if you understand the key concepts associated with any question asked in lecture. If not, be sure to go over the question after lecture and if you still are having difficulties answering it, talk to an instructor or your TA in office hours. Isn't it better to realize in class that you don't understand a particular topic than on the exam itself?

What to do after class

Study materials for after lecture

After each lecture, you will be given access to the lecture slides and a podcast of the lecture. The slides and podcast will allow you to review the lecture and to confirm the accuracy of your lecture notes. The lecture study guide will also provide you with problems and exercises that will help you practice and reinforce what you learned in lecture.

The study guide - after lecture

  • The study guide contains a variety of exercises that reinforce the mental muscles that are important for mastering the learning goals associated with the specific lecture. The problems/exercises on the study guide are a mix of short-answer questions, thought questions, and exercises that help you to build mental models that are important for success in the class (e.g. you may be prompted to sketch a picture of a particular molecule or process).
  • The study guides also contains some multiple choice questions designed to model the kind of thinking that will be expected on the exam. Many of these questions are taken from old midterm exams.

It is important that you complete the study guides as soon as you can after class. Use this document to identify areas where you are having difficulties and figure out the best way to master this material. Waiting to do these exercises until the last minutes defeats much of their purpose.

The cumulative nature of BIS2A

By its very nature, the material in BIS2A is cumulative and it is very easy to get behind. We recognize this challenge and have designed the pre and post-lecture study guides to help you prevent this. The guides include a variety of exercises such as creating vocabulary study lists, creating sketches of molecules and biological processes, specific instructions to review lecture content, sample multiple choice questions that are formatted in exam style, and a variety of other study aides. Some of the exercises may feel strange at first, but remember they're designed by the same people who are designing the lectures and the exams. There is a reason why we are asking you to practice these exercises.

If the rationale for an exercise is not clear, it is important that you not ignore it. Instead, ask yourself why the instructors might be asking you to do that specific exercise. The exercises are designed to help you master the learning goals specified in the study guide. Cross-check each exercise with those learning goals and see if you can draw a connection. If you still don't understand why you're being asked to do something in the study guide, ask a classmate, talk to a TA, or ask the instructor.

Once you're convinced that you have mastered the learning goals and have practiced/reinforced key concepts and skills using the study-guides, we recommend that reenforce your understanding by creating mock exam questions that are designed to test a fellow student's understanding of the learning goals.

Previous exam questions

Another way to test your understanding of the material is to take a practice exam that contains exam questions from previous quarters. Some of these questions appear in the post-lecture study guide. You may also be asked to work collaboratively on Nota Bene to answer previous exam questions.

However, please be advised that we have found that many students don't use these questions as effectively as they could. These are NOT meant to be exercises in memorization! Your instructor will not, in all likelihood, ask you the exact same question. Many students fall into a trap of using these questions as a last second study guide, cross-referencing with a key and mentally checking off that they understand a topic, because the answer choice "makes sense". Beware, if you are falling into this trap, you likely have a false sense of the depth of your real understanding.

How to use previous exam questions effectively

  • Ask yourself if there are any vocabulary terms that appear multiple times in the exam or any vocabulary words that you don't understand. Sometimes, just knowing the precise meaning of a term is enough to answer the question.
  • Ask yourself WHAT learning goal(s)are associated with each question and what skills do you need to have mastered in order to able to answer the question. Remember, some questions may require you to integrate learning goals.
  • Ask yourself HOW the instructor is testing whether or not you have mastered the learning goals you identified above. Figure out what you needed to know or be able to do to answer the question and how did the instructor ask you to demonstrate this.
  • Ask yourself how you might RECAST the question (changing some details or specifics) in a way that still tested whether or not a student had mastered the associated learning goals and not just memorized the answers to the old exam questions. We as instructors do this all the time.
  • Asking yourself how you might CREATE a new question that an instructor could use to test the same learning goals. We as instructors do this all the time too.

Habits associated with highly successful BIS2A students

Over the years, your instructors have talked with many, many students to try and understand why some students are more successful than others. The picture is, as you might expect, complicated. However, there seem to be at least two habits that we can consistently associate with highly successful students and that we find are practiced much less frequently by students who struggle. These are:

  • Reviewing and studying material associated with a lecture THAT SAME DAY. This includes reviewing the lecture notes, vocabulary, and doing associated exercises. This ALSO includes making lists of concepts that still aren't clear and trying to have those questions cleared up before the following lecture.
  • Constant self testing. That is, most successful students have developed methods (there are many) for assessing their comfort level with their understanding of the course material and spending more time on areas they find MOST challenging.

The first point is relatively easy to understand. Don't procrastinate. Material builds up quickly, concepts are often layered and exams sneak up on you very fast in the quarter system. It is difficult to identify the holes in your understanding of a topic and fill them appropriately two days before the exam.

The second point about self testing is more subtle. Basically, students that are good at this skill have ways of asking themselves "do I really understand the point of this question and the reason for the answer?" This can happen in a number of ways. We suggested one above. Try to invent new exam style questions for a concept or skill. Another good way to test yourself is to work in groups and force yourself to explain a topic or question to another student, as if you were the instructor. This is often more difficult than it seems. While this exercise can be hard - particularly if you are not used to flexing these mental muscles - this type of introspection is important to develop for both your short and long term success and we encourage you to look inward and test yourself and your understanding often when you are studying.

The information below is adapted from OpenStax Biology 43.2

External fertilization usually occurs in aquatic environments where both eggs and sperm are released into the water, a process called spawning. Water protects the eggs from drying out during development. Getting the sperm and egg together requires that the gametes be released at the same time and in the same location to increase the likelihood of fertilization (otherwise all those gametes are wasted!) How does that happen?

  • In some species, including some fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and other invertebrates, there are environmental (water temperature, length of daylight) or biological (pheromones) cues that cause males and females to release gametes at the same time. In this situation, males and females are often not interacting with each other as individuals, but massed together so that all sperm and all eggs are in the same location.
  • In other species, including many amphibians, individual males court individual females to induce the female to release the eggs, at which point the male releases the sperm to fertilize that individual female’s eggs.

Cauliflower coral broadcast spawning. Image credit: Lindsey Kramer/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,

During sexual reproduction in toads, the male grasps the female from behind and externally fertilizes the eggs as they are deposited. (credit: “OakleyOriginals”/Flickr)

Rethinking assessment of success of mitigation strategies for elephant-induced crop damage

Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology, Colorado State University, 1474 Campus Delivery, Fort Collins, CO, 80523 U.S.A.

Grumeti Fund, P.O. Box 65, Mugumu, Mara Region, Tanzania

Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N. Clark St, Chicago, IL, 60614 U.S.A.

Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology, Colorado State University, 1474 Campus Delivery, Fort Collins, CO, 80523 U.S.A.

Grumeti Fund, P.O. Box 65, Mugumu, Mara Region, Tanzania

Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N. Clark St, Chicago, IL, 60614 U.S.A.

Article impact statement: : Effectiveness of crop-damage mitigation strategies must incorporate measures of both efficacy and rates of adoption among target users.


Crop damage is the most common impact of negative interactions between people and elephants and poses a significant threat to rural livelihoods and conservation efforts. Numerous approaches to mitigate and prevent crop damage have been implemented throughout Africa and Asia. Despite the documented high efficacy of many approaches, losses remain common, and in many areas, damage is intensifying. We examined the literature on effectiveness of crop-damage-mitigation strategies and identified key gaps in evaluations. We determined there is a need to better understand existing solutions within affected communities and to extend evaluations of effectiveness beyond measurement of efficacy to include rates of and barriers to adoption. We devised a conceptual framework for evaluating effectiveness that incorporates the need for increased emphasis on adoption and can be used to inform the design of future crop-damage mitigation assessments for elephants and conflict species more widely. The ability to prevent crop loss in practice is affected by both the efficacy of a given approach and rates of uptake among target users. We identified the primary factors that influence uptake as local attitudes, sustainability, and scalability and examined each of these factors in detail. We argue that even moderately efficacious interventions may make significant progress in preventing damage if widely employed and recommend that wherever possible scientists and practitioners engage with communities to build on and strengthen existing solutions and expertise. When new approaches are required, they should align with local attitudes and fit within limitations on labor, financial requirements, and technical capacity.


Replanteamiento de la Evaluación del Éxito de las Estrategias de Mitigación del Daño a Cultivos Causado por Elefantes


El daño a los cultivos es el impacto más común generado por las interacciones negativas entre las personas y los elefantes. Actualmente representa una amenaza significativa para el sustento rural y los esfuerzos de conservación. Se han implementado numerosas estrategias para mitigar y prevenir el daño a los cultivos en toda África y Asia. A pesar de la documentación de la eficiencia de las estrategias, las pérdidas todavía son comunes y, en muchas áreas, el daño se está intensificando. Examinamos la literatura sobre la efectividad de las estrategias de mitigación del daño a cultivos e identificamos vacíos importantes en su evaluación. Determinamos que existe una necesidad por entender de mejor manera las soluciones existentes en las comunidades afectadas y por extender las evaluaciones de eficiencia más allá de las medidas de eficacia para que incluyan las tasas y barreras de la adopción. Diseñamos un marco de trabajo conceptual para la evaluación de la eficiencia, el cual incorpora la necesidad de un incremento en el énfasis de la adopción y puede usarse para informar a los diseñadores de las futuras evaluaciones de la mitigación de daños a cultivos causados por elefantes u otras especies conflictivas de manera más amplia. La capacidad de poder prevenir la pérdida de cultivos en práctica está afectada tanto por la eficiencia de una estrategia dada como por las tasas de aceptación entre los usuarios diana. Identificamos como los factores primarios que influyen sobre la aceptación a las actitudes locales, la sustentabilidad y la adaptabilidad, y examinamos cada uno de estos factores a detalle. Argumentamos que incluso las intervenciones moderadamente eficientes pueden llevar a cabo un progreso significativo en la prevención del daño si se emplean ampliamente. También recomendamos que, en donde sea posible, los científicos y los practicantes de la conservación participen con las comunidades para construir y fortalecer las soluciones y el conocimiento existentes. Cuando se requieran nuevas estrategias, éstas deberán alinearse con las actitudes locales y deberán encajar dentro de las limitaciones de la labor, los requisitos financieros y la capacidad técnica.

人类与大象的负面互作中最常见的影响是作物损失, 这严重威胁着当地人的生计和保护工作。目前, 非洲和亚洲各地已经实施了许多减轻和防止作物损失的方法。虽然记录中许多方法都十分有效, 但作物损失还是很普遍, 一些地区损失甚至还在加剧。我们分析了研究减轻作物损失措施有效性的文献, 并确定了评估中的重要缺口。结果表明, 需要更好地了解受影响社区已有的解决方案, 并将有效性评估扩展到衡量成效之外, 即纳入策略措施得到采纳的比例及其阻碍因素。我们还设计了一个评估其有效性的概念框架, 包含加强重视策略措施得到采纳的需求, 这有助于设计未来减轻大象和其它存在人兽冲突的物种造成的作物损失的评估。各种策略措施的实际作物止损能力受到方法有效性和目标受众接受度的影响。这里, 我们找出了影响接受度的主要因素, 分别是当地人的态度、可持续性和可扩展性, 并对它们进行了详细分析。我们认为, 即使是中度有效的干预措施, 只要得到广泛应用, 也可能在防止作物损失中取得重大进展。我们建议科学家和保护实践者尽可能地与社区合作, 在现有解决方案和专业知识的基础上更进一步。当需要引入新方法时, 新方法应得到当地人的认可, 并且不能超出劳动力、财务需求和技术能力的限制范围。【翻译: 胡怡思 审校: 聂永刚】

Testing Hypotheses for the Success of Different Conservation Strategies

Graduate Group in Ecology, University of California at Davis, Davis, CA 95616, U.S.A.

Graduate Group in Ecology, University of California at Davis, Davis, CA 95616, U.S.A.

Graduate Group in Ecology, University of California at Davis, Davis, CA 95616, U.S.A.

Institute for the Conservation of Tropical Biology (ICTE), Department of Anthropology, SUNY Stony Brook, New York, NY 11794, U.S.A.

Department of Anthropology, University of California at Davis, Davis, CA 95616, U.S.A.

Graduate Group in Ecology, University of California at Davis, Davis, CA 95616, U.S.A.

Department of Anthropology, University of California at Davis, Davis, CA 95616, U.S.A.

Center for Population Biology, University of California at Davis, Davis, CA 95616, U.S.A.

Address correspondence to M. Borgerhoff Mulder, email [email protected] [email protected] Search for more papers by this author

Graduate Group in Ecology, University of California at Davis, Davis, CA 95616, U.S.A.

Graduate Group in Ecology, University of California at Davis, Davis, CA 95616, U.S.A.

Graduate Group in Ecology, University of California at Davis, Davis, CA 95616, U.S.A.

Institute for the Conservation of Tropical Biology (ICTE), Department of Anthropology, SUNY Stony Brook, New York, NY 11794, U.S.A.

Department of Anthropology, University of California at Davis, Davis, CA 95616, U.S.A.

Graduate Group in Ecology, University of California at Davis, Davis, CA 95616, U.S.A.

Department of Anthropology, University of California at Davis, Davis, CA 95616, U.S.A.

Center for Population Biology, University of California at Davis, Davis, CA 95616, U.S.A.

Address correspondence to M. Borgerhoff Mulder, email [email protected] [email protected] Search for more papers by this author


Abstract: Evaluations of the success of different conservation strategies are still in their infancy. We used four different measures of project outcomes—ecological, economic, attitudinal, and behavioral—to test hypotheses derived from the assumptions that underlie contemporary conservation solutions. Our hypotheses concerned the effects of natural resource utilization, market integration, decentralization, and community homogeneity on project success. We reviewed the conservation and development literature and used a specific protocol to extract and code the information in a sample of papers. Although our results are by no means conclusive and suffer from the paucity of high-quality data and independent monitoring (80% of the original sample of 124 projects provided inadequate information for use in this study), they show that permitted use of natural resources, market access, and greater community involvement in the conservation project are all important factors for a successful outcome. Without better monitoring schemes in place, it is still impossible to provide a systematic evaluation of how different strategies are best suited to different conservation challenges.


Resumen: Las evaluaciones del éxito de diferentes estrategias de conservación aun están en su infancia. Utilizamos cuatro medidas diferentes de resultados de proyectos—ecológicos, económicos, de actitud y conductuales—para probar hipótesis derivadas de las suposiciones que subyacen en las soluciones de conservación contemporáneas. Nuestras hipótesis se relacionaron con los efectos de la utilización de recursos naturales, la integración de mercados, la descentralización y la heterogeneidad de la comunidad sobre el éxito del proyecto. Revisamos la literatura de conservación y desarrollo y utilizamos un protocolo específico para extraer y codificar la información en una muestra de artículos. Nuestros resultados, aunque no son concluyentes y sufren la escasez de datos de alta calidad y el monitoreo independiente (80% de la muestra original de 124 proyectos proporcionó información inadecuada para este estudio), muestran que el uso autorizado de recursos naturales, el acceso al mercado y una mayor participación de la comunidad en el proyecto de conservación son factores importantes para un resultado exitoso. Sin mejores esquemas de monitoreo in situ todavía es imposible proporcionar una evaluación sistemática de cómo las diferentes estrategias están mejor adaptadas a los diferentes retos de la conservación.

What Is The Most Effective Way To Study?

Finding the best way to study is an ongoing process. It isn’t something that can be left to the night before the test. You should be constantly improving your study skills to better understand what works (and what doesn’t).

Learning how to study better helps avoid panic and frustration the next time a big test is coming up. After all, you are more likely to do well and be less stressed before a test when you have had time to properly review and practice the material!

Mastering effective study habits not only makes it easier to learn but will also help you get better grades in high school and post-secondary.

Agenda Outline

  • Welcome and introduction
  • Grant writing and development
  • Climbing the research funding ladder
  • Research partnerships, intellectual property and commercialization
  • Student training and mentoring
  • Knowledge mobilization and research communications
  • Research ethics and leaves
  • Financial administration of research funds

To see the full agenda please visit the event page on the Office of Research site.


As asserted above, perhaps the most underappreciated variables in teaching and learning are the students themselves and all their individual variations. Although it may be tempting to generalize what students will be like from semester to semester, from course to course, and from institution to institution, there is little evidence to support these generalizations. To promote student engagement and strive for classroom equity, it is essential to constantly and iteratively attend to who exactly is in your classroom trying to learn biology. Below are two specific strategies to help keep the focus of your teaching on the actual students who are currently enrolled in the course you are teaching.

20. Teach Them from the Moment They Arrive

As biology instructors, we assume that the only thing being learned in our classrooms is biology. However, student learning does not begin and end with the biology being explored and discussed. Increasingly, research from a host of fields—educational psychology, sociology, and science education—suggests that learning is not discrete and delimited by concepts under study, but rather continuous and pervasive. Learning is happening about everything going on in the classroom. As such, instructors are best served by considering what students are learning, not just about the subject matter, but also about culture of the classroom from the moment they enter the room. Consider students’ opportunities to learn about classroom culture in just two of many ways: students’ impression on the first day of class and students’ impressions as they enter the classroom for each class session. What an instructor chooses to do on the first day of a course likely sends a strong message to students about the goals of the course, the role of the instructor, and the role of the students. If one wants to convey to students that the course is about learning biology, then reading the syllabus and spending the first class session discussing how grades are assigned is incongruous. Without intent, this instructor is implicitly teaching students that the course is primarily about assigning grades. If the course is about learning biology, then instructors can implicitly and explicitly teach this by engaging students in exciting, intellectually challenging, and rewarding experiences about biology on the first day of a course. Similarly, if an instructor has as a goal that verbal participation by students is key to success in the course, then all students should be engaged in and experience talking about biology from the very first day of class. More subtly, students will also likely learn about their role in the course and their relationship with the instructor based on seemingly inconsequential day-to-day interactions. If an instructor stands at the front of the room or works on his or her computer while waiting for class to start, students may inadvertently “learn” that the instructor is not interested in students or is inaccessible or too busy to be approached, even though this may not be the conscious intention of the instructor. Similarly, students will likely notice whether the instructor regularly speaks to the same subset of students prior to class each day. In all these cases, instructors can make conscious efforts to convey their interest in and commitment to the learning of all students in the course all the time—before class, during class, after class, via email. If we want to teach them about biology, we likely need to be teaching them about the culture of our classrooms and their role in it at the same time.

21. Collect Assessment Evidence from Every Student, Every Class

To accomplish the goal of teaching those actual students who are sitting in front of you, it is essential to maximize the flow of information from individual students to the instructor. Frequent collection of assessment evidence—about students’ biological ideas, about their reflections on their learning, about their struggles in the course—is essential for instructors to know the learners they are trying to teach. Beginning immediately, instructors can start with an online “More about You” survey as homework on the first day of a course and can continue to collect information about students throughout the semester (Tanner, 2011). For many instructors, this is most easily accomplished through student online submission of writing assignments. Other options include the use of daily minute papers or index cards, clickers, and a variety of other assessment tools (Angelo and Cross, 1993 Huba and Freed, 2000). While the nature of the assessment evidence may vary from class session to class session, the evidence collected from each and every student in a course can aid instructors in continuously re-evaluating student ideas and iteratively changing the arc of the course to best support the learning of that course's student population. The goal is to assure a constant stream of information from student to instructor, and for each and every student, not just those confident enough to speak up publicly during class. Regular consideration of classroom evidence is foundational for bringing our scientific skills to bear on our teaching.

Read the room

If you’re steadily losing students to doodling, off-topic chatter, and the pervasive “need to tear and ball up little pieces of paper”, it’s time to shake things up.

Cut the activity short if it’s dragging, clarify instructions if there’s confusion, or switch to a more student-centered activity for greater engagement.

Remember: it’s impossible to have every student engaged 100% of the time. The next best thing we can do is to notice disengagement and respond to it quickly.

3 | Regular Reviewing & Reflecting

Premeds who perform at the peak understand the importance of regular review and reflection.

This applies most obviously to testing. Any time you receive your test results back from a professor, seize the opportunity to go over it. Don’t focus on the actual score – focus on the opportunity to learn from your results. Go back and look through the entire test. Even if I did well on a test, I know that I guessed or got lucky on at least a few questions. I’ll make sure to go back, find those questions, and examine what I did to score well on those questions. Did I use a specific technique that worked out well? Did I logic my way through it?

If you get a question wrong, it’s critical to examine why you got it wrong. This isn’t just so you can avoid making the same mistake on your next midterm or final, but more importantly to highlight detrimental patterns in thinking or test-taking strategies that can hold you back in your future classes as well.

The importance of this principle makes sense when you realize you can only improve if you know what changes you need to make. And you can only know what changes are necessary if you have an accurate understanding of where you currently stand, and in which direction you need to move.

You cannot improve your test-taking skills unless you are aware of your results, what works, and what doesn’t. Similarly, you cannot improve your study strategies unless you are first cognizant of how you’re studying. And you cannot improve your understanding of yourself or the world around you without the same.

In test-taking, reviewing and reflecting is more straightforward, but this applies to other domains of life as well. If there’s one habit I wish I started sooner, it’s regular journaling, as it provides clarity of thought — a stupidly simple but incredibly elusive phenomenon, particularly in the modern age of hyper-distraction.

New methods needed to boost success of Classical Biological Control to fight insect pests

An illustration of a case of biological control of the Comstock mealybug Pseudococcus comstocki with the parasitoid wasp Allotropa burrelli. Credit: Lukas Seehausen

A CABI-led study has revealed that the success of Classical Biological Control (CBC) in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East is only rarely dependent on the released biological control agent, but more often on other factors, such as the target pest, its host plant, or the circumstances of the releases.

The research—published in the journal NeoBiota—suggests that the overall success of biological control introductions of insect predators and parasitoids against herbivorous insects in the Western Paleartic ecozone is comparable to the success of CBC worldwide. However, over 100 years of CBC in this region, has resulted in no overall rise in success in the fight against insect pests—including those of crops such as citrus, olive, potato, mulberry and various other fruits.

Lead author Dr. Lukas Seehausen, together with colleagues from CABI Switzerland, the University of Lisbon and the University of Bordeaux, argue that a focus on life-history traits of the biological control agent to increase the chances of successful CBC is not fully justified and should be complemented with the consideration of traits regarding the pest and its host plant, as well as other aspects of CBC, such as climate and management—including ways in which CBC agents are released.

For example, if a CBC agent is released repeatedly against the same pest in different years and countries, the chances of successful establishment and control of the target increase. This is an indication for the importance of release strategies for the success of CBC programs.

Dr. Seehausen said, "What makes our study different from others is that we studied factors that may impact the outcome of CBC not independently of each other but using a holistic analysis, which reveals their relative importance within the complexity of CBC programs.

"The results from this study should be understood as a first step to give the incentive for a holistic, rather than an independent consideration of factors affecting the success of CBC."

By filtering data from the BIOCAT catalog, the scientists found that 780 introductions of insects for biological control were undertaken in the Greater Western Palearctic ecozone between 1890 and 2010. This constituted 416 agent-target combinations.

The results showed that eight countries were responsible for more than two thirds (70.5%) of all introductions: Israel (16.3%), Italy (14.0%), Former USSR (10.1%), France (7.3%), Greece (7.1%), Spain (6.0%), Egypt (5.3%), and Cyprus (4.4%). Within these countries, the percentage of complete target control was very variable.

Overall, the study showed that while the success of agent establishment was 32%, the successful impact of single agents on their target was 18% and the success of complete control was 11%.

However, the success rates of agent establishment and target control were higher in CBC projects targeting pests of woody plants than pests of other types of plants.

A reason for this, the scientists say, might be that being perennial, trees provide a more stable and predictable environment when compared to herbaceous plants such as annual plants or crops.

In carrying out the research, Dr. Seehausen and the team added 15 new explanatory variables including consideration of the biological control agent feeding strategy, host range and life-stage killed by the biological control agent.

Dr. Seehausen explains, "We found that only a few CBC agent-related factors significantly influenced the success of CBC—suggesting that the reoccurring focus on agent-related traits is not justified.

"Our attention should be redirected to include lower trophic levels and other aspects of CBC—such as abiotic factors including climate and management."

The scientists conclude by stressing that analysis of the entire BIOCAT catalog, or an updated version including more factors, should lead to further insights and help to develop decision support tools to increase the success of CBC at all levels.

Watch the video: Η Βιολογία των Πανελλαδικών εξετάσεων (January 2022).