Ecology and Evolution of Microorganisms Class’ Field Study 2017: Learning Beyond Classroom

May 26, 2017 2:19 am


Learning can be done anywhere, not limited in class or laboratories. Better understanding can be obtained by applying or directly observing or experimenting in the field. This is one reason of Undergraduate Programme of Microbiology to held a field study of Ecology and Evolution of Microorganisms course in 7-9 April 2017. After the successful field study to Pangandaran Conservation Area last year, this year’s field study headed to Dieng Highland, Central Java. All course participant, student of year 2015, took part in the trip. Participants were grouped into groups of 4-5 persons and took various samples in three points : Sikidang Crater, Warna Lake, and Pangilon Lake. After tracking and obtaining sample in the first day, participants also visited Arjuna Temple in the next day.

In this year’s field trip, participants obtained water samples from river and hot springs around Sikidang Crater; also in Warna and Pangilon Lake. Participants also obtained samples of soil within vicinity of Sikidang Crater; and from swamps and forest between Warna and Pangilon Lake. During sampling, participants not only exercise the technique and knowledge of good sampling, but also were introduced to phenomenon or characteristics of each ecosystem. Participants are asked to observe and measure parameters of microclimate that shape an ecosystem.

The learning doesn’t stop in obtaining samples. Following sampling, participants analyzed obtained soil and water samples through wet labs. The fungal and bacterial abundance were observed. For soil samples, students measured enzymatic activity through Fluorescein Diacetate (FDA) assay. Students also determine the concentration of nitrogen and phosphate compounds, total dissolved solids, total suspended solids, and volatile suspended solid level. By assaying the samples, it is expected that students will analyze the correlation between microbial abundance and structure of microbial community in the ecosystem.

With this field study, it is expected that participants will understand the working plot of a research; starting from good sampling process, required analysis to answer research questions, and synthesis of analysis.