Professional Bio: Dustin VanOverbeke and James Blauth
Dr. Dustin VanOverbeke grew up in a small farming town in southwestern MN where he spent most of his childhood enjoying the outdoors and chasing bugs. He earned his B.S. in Biology with a minor in Environmental Science from the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire. His undergraduate research studying the effects of elk browsing on forb availability and butterfly diversity inspired him to pursue his PhD in Entomology from the University of California, Riverside. It also inspired him to teach at a small liberal arts institution where he could help undergraduates gain the type of research experience he was so fortunate to have. Dr. VanOverbeke pursues research on insect-plant interactions, specifically with respect to insect nutritional ecology and behavior. He is further interested in insect self-medication in response to parasitism.
Dr. James Blauth received his BA in Biology from Dartmouth College (1989) and PhD in Plant Genetics from Cornell University (1994). Ecological restoration of disturbed desert habitats using native woody plants and soil microbes. Jim started teaching at Redlands in Fall 1999. He teaches Principles of Biology, Botany, Plant Ecology, Research Topics in Biology, and a first year seminar on plants. Dr. Blauth's research interest include plant biology, genetics, ecology, and scientific literacy with expertise in broad academic training and teaching experience in biology with emphasis in plant biology and genetics. In spring 2009 Jim and his research team transplanted 60 seedlings into Cottonwood Pass in Joshua Tree National Park to re-vegetate and (hopefully) initiate ecological restoration of a disturbed desert wash.
Type of project: Developing a spatial database of, and placing QR tags on, campus trees to gamify learning of biodiversity through the use of personal mobile devices.
Brief Project Description: The general public is often lacking in their knowledge of issues surrounding biodiversity. What knowledge there is tends to be focused on animals, particularly mammals and birds. This is also seen in our students and becomes especially apparent when it comes to identifying organisms they pass on a daily basis, such as identifying plants around campus.