UNISprout News

The first UNISprout project was successfully completed at UNIS this fall! Arctic Biology bachelor students Sari Dötterer and Annie Colgan participated in a project to process and identify bryophyte and lichen samples under the mentorship of Associate Professor Simone Lang. UNISprout is a student led bioCEED initiative developed by former bioCEED student representative, Ørjan Vabø. Inspired by the bioSPIRE, a similar program running at the University of Bergen, the goal of UNISprout is to give bachelor students relevant practical training. Participating bachelor students spend up to 40 hours assisting Masters students, PhD students or Professors with their research. The bachelor students receive training and valuable experience doing real research and the supervisors benefit from having careful and curious lab or field assistants. This fall, Sari and Annie assisted Simone Lang in processing and identifying bryophyte and lichen samples, which had been collected on a field cruise during the summer. They learned the proper technique for pressing samples and preparing herbarium vouchers. They dissected bryophyte shoots and very carefully prepared leaf-cross sections for identification - bryophyte identification is often based on the shape of individual cells! Sari and Annie leave behind them over 100 samples now neatly packed in herbarium vouchers and two exhibition boxes with bryophyte and lichen samples, which will be used in future courses to introduce students to common bryophytes and lichens. The project was a huge success for all involved and it is very exciting to have UNISprout up and running at the University Centre in Svalbard! by: Anne Marie Colgan - student representatives, bioCEED
bioCEED at UNIS has now launched an exciting project – UNISprout where biology students can gain practical training within 40 hours in the field of Biology. The project is similar to the already existing project bioSPIRE in Bergen and aims to:
  1. help bachelor students in biology (the “sprouts“) get a taste of practical biology by participating in a more experienced student’s project on the field or at the lab
  2. give Master and PhD students the chance to inspire the younger ones by inviting them in their project and communicating their passion, while they get a bit of help collecting samples or data
  3. facilitate networking for students within the department and between different levels of education
The last couple of months the project group has been working hard to get the project up running and by now we have three projects waiting for bachelor students to join in on. The initiative to start up UNISprout came from our bioCEED student representative Ørjan Vabø who is a bachelor student at UNIS this semester. As a former student at UiB, he is well known with the student-driven project bioSPIRE in Bergen and thought this would be useful for students as well at UNIS.  Even though UNIS is a small university centre, it is not always easy for students to orient themselves within the opportunities that exist at UNIS. Hopefully UNISprout can contribute to support students to get more practical experience, as well as create an understanding of working skills that are needed within the discipline. For more information, visit UNISprout at http://unisprout.w.uib.no or contact Tina Dahl at tina.dahl@unis.no

Photo: Tina Dahl and Simen Hjelle