Location: C110 and C112 (Tropical insects research studio)
4901 46 Ave
Augustana Campus, University of Alberta
Camrose AB T4V 2R3
We are a research lab whose members (with the exception of our supervisor) are all undergraduate students. We are under the supervision and leadership of Dr. Tomislav Terzin, Associate Professor of Biology at the Augustana Campus of University of Alberta. Although many undergraduate research assistants were a part of Dr. Terzin's research program at Augustana since 2010,
our lab officialy was born by our unanimous vote on February 08th 2017.
World's First Undergraduate Research Lab:
We did an extensive search of the world wide web and were not able to find any research lab whose members (with the exception of principal investigator) are all undergraduate students. So, we claim to be the first one. The internet is a huge place, so we may be wrong. If we are, we will be happy to remove the claim from our web page. The reason that we would be happy is that in such case, we would not be alone in the Universe :-) Please contact us!
Dr. Terzin's research program:
Under the challenging conditions of working at undergraduate campus with high teaching expectations, I have managed to establish a diverse, highly collaborative, low-cost and sustainable research program. My research program consists of three themes. Research revolves around extensive tropical invertebrate collection
Theme 1: Evolution and development of invertebrate colour patterns. In this theme I am mostly focused on the study of the information content of colour patterns, the evolution of mimicry, and the phylogenetic significance of colour patterns. This research supports my teaching in AUBIO 438, AUBIO 318 and AUBIO 419.
Theme 2: Description, definition and quantification of invertebrate mimicry and camouflage. This theme focusses on invertebrate zoology, entomology and taxonomy. This research also supports my teaching in AUART 298, AUBIO 318 and AUBIO 419.
Theme 3: Interdisciplinary application of invertebrate colour patterns in design, visual arts, aesthetics and conservation. This is a broad research theme which applies the knowledge from my field of expertise in new directions. This research depends on collaboration with specialists from other disciplines, and involves the application of biological colour patterns in the textile design, the study of aesthetics of colour patterns and various public initiatives in which colour patterns or particular specimens such as “the Augustana Moth” serve as catalysts for broader activities in arts, design and conservation.
What makes undergraduate lab different from regular research lab?:
1. Undergraduate researchers can dedicate only a limmited time per week to do research. Often no more than two hours per week. Because of that individual research projects have slow progress and sometimes we take multigenerational approach to complete the study (please see references).
2. Although my research assistants all value volunteering, I do my best to accomodate many of them in directed reading and directed study courses, so that they receive credits for their work.
3. Undergraduate research requires closer supervision compared to graduate research labs. I often accept first year students in my research program, so we start from the basics. That part is challenging,but at the same time is the most rewarding, because many students in this lab receive their first experience in scientific investigation. After a year or two they become experienced researchers.
4. Undergaduate research takes place when researchers are still exploring personal affinities and often do not have clear goals for the future. Graduate students do work towards their chosen profession.
5. Because of the challenges listed above, undergraduate research is not sufficiently funded, but we have another view to it: We have lot's of academic freedom to choose the topics of our study. Grant justification for applied science does not apply to us. We study the wonders of nature for the sake of knowledge alone.
Message to the sponsors:
This undergraduate research lab is a place of unique learning experience and the first exposure to scientific method to many young scientists. Undergarduate research is underfunded worldwide. The existence of our unique lab and the learning opportunity it provides to many students, depends on donations. Please feel free to visit us and see with your own eyes that what we do deserves support.
Terzin, T., Reinke, J., Warawa, W., Duitruk, A., Zubova, O. 2015. The challenges and benefits of multy-generational undergraduate research projects involving junior students. International Journal for Cross-Disciplinary Subjects in Education (IJCDSE), Special Issue Vol.5 Issue 3, pp. 2562-2567.PDF
Strickfaden, M., Stafiniak, L., Terzin, T. 2015. Inspired and inspiring textile designers: understanding creativity through influence and inspiration. Clothing and Textiles Research Journal, Vol.33 Issue 3, pp. 213-228.PDF
Terzin, T. 2014. Undergraduate evo-devo laboratory exercise: butterflies causing near-graduate research experience. Literacy Information and Computer Education Journal (LICEJ), Special Issue Vol.3 Issue 1, pp. 1307-1316.PDF