Dr. Charles McClaugherty

Teaching Area(s): Biology

During Commencement, it is so exciting to be reminded of how much students have developed during their time at the University.

Biology Major Hands-On Learning

The University of Mount Union’s Biology program offers an extraordinarily high degree of hands-on learning opportunities. At Mount Union, we believe there is real value in putting in-class knowledge to work outside of the classroom. Hands-on learning opportunities will help to strengthen your skills and knowledge in the biology, which are critical to success in your career.

Experiential learning opportunities through Mount Union’s Biology program include:

  • Independent research
  • Research with faculty or student peers
  • Laboratory experience
  • Internships
  • Field trips to Ball Research Forest, coastal marine locations, local zoos and museums and Lake Erie
  • Exclusive access to Mount Union’s Nature Center

Independent, Peer and Student/Faculty Laboratory and In-the-Field Research
Factors Influencing Photosynthesis in Forest Plants ­– Herbaceous plants growing beneath tree cover in forests have limited amounts of light to carry out photosynthesis. Biology majors at Mount Union have studied selected species of plants to determine their particular strategy for survival in these low light environments.

Comparison of Photosynthetic Response to Light Regimes in Native and Invasive Maple Species – Most leaves of a forest tree rarely receive direct beam solar radiation because of being in the shadow of other leaves. Mount Union biology majors have conducted a study demonstrating Norway maples (non-native species) respond more rapidly and to a higher degree than the red maple (native species) at carrying out photosynthesis under these conditions.

Studying the expression of genes involved in aging and oxidative stress responses in yeast – Biology majors at Mount Union have conducted studies investigating the expression of three genes thought to be related to oxidative stress associated with the aging process as well as how these genes respond to oxidative stress caused by environmental agents.

The impact of oil and gas infrastructure on the landscape ecology of east central Ohio – Thanks to a grant from the Herbert W. Hoover foundation, Mount Union was able to obtain high resolution aerial photographs of a region in east central Ohio that is currently being developed for extracting gas and oil from the Utica shale. Utilizing state-of-the art Geographic Information Systems (GIS) programs and computers, students working with Dr. McClaugherty have been able to measure the impact of this development on the pattern of fields and forests and the potential for damage to surface and ground water in the event of an accident.

Brittle Star Regeneration – As a Senior Culminating Experience (SCE), a biology major compared the regeneration rates in two species of brittle starts, the harry brittle star and the serpent star, when rays were amputated. This study has become an ongoing project where additional species could be analyzed and other echinoderms could be utilized as well.

Analysis of Substrate Preference by Marine Nitrifying Bacteria – As a Senior Culminating Experience (SCE), a biology major has studied the nitrification rates of two species of marine bacteria given different substrates for growth. The rate at which ammonia is converted to nitrate (and nitrite) is being used as a proxy to determine bacterial colonization of four different substrates.

Overwintering Energetics of Ectotherms – Biology students are examining how wooly bears (Isabella tiger moth caterpillars) respond to different overwintering temperatures and implications of global warming.

Quail Embryo Energetics – Students in the biology program have studied the metabolic consequences of incubation temperature on bobwhite quail embryos.

Field Trips
Ball Research Forest - This small forest, managed by the Huston-Brumbaugh Nature Center, is located in the unglaciated region of Ohio. The area is used for field trips to study the soils and plants that are typical found in the southern half of Ohio.

Regional Zoos and Museums (including Cleveland, Akron, Columbus and Pittsburgh) - These facilities are used to study marine organism diversity. Classes have been able to utilize behind the scenes programs on coral propagation, sea turtle rehab and macaroni penguins at Pittsburgh. Classes have also been able to work with moon jelly propagation and touch tank encounter at Akron and reef ecosystem at Columbus. 

Huston-Brumbaugh Nature Center
Students in biology, geology and environmental science use the Nature Center for field laboratories to study biological diversity, ecology and hydrology. The Nature Center also offers numerous school programs for schools in the area. There are educational programs open to students, staff and the general public nearly every weekend. The Nature Center includes a bird observatory, a natural history library, three classrooms, an educational garden, a historic farm and nearly four miles of walking trails.

Schedule a campus visit today to learn more in person.

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