Mike Anderson

Laboratory Instructor
Biology Department, Macalester College

Olin-Rice 115
(651) 696-6230
andersonm@macalester.edu


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I am the lab instructor for physiology and ecology classes for the Macalester Biology Department. My regular course assignments are Biodiversity and Evolution Lab (BIOL270L) and Ecology Lab (BIOL285L), but I have also helped with Cell Biology and Genetics discussion and lab sections, Human Physiology lab, and Plant and Animal Physiology lab. Until May 2009 I was also the resident naturalist at Macalester's field station -- the Katharine Ordway Natural History Study Area (KONHSA). I'm still very involved with the field station, and like to work it into my labs whenever I can. In addition to the field station, I also help out with a number of other departmental resources including the greenhouse and the new flow cytometer, which I also like to work into the curriculum whenever possible.

I am also a PhD student at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. My dissertation research centers on symbiotic interactions between alder plants (Alnus spp.) and nitrogen-fixing Frankia bacteria on the 100-mile-wide floodplain of the Tanana River near Fairbanks. In this area the symbiosis with Frankia allows alder to colonize newly-formed river terraces, which are very low in soil nitrogen (N). The competitive edge provided to alder by Frankia during this process is short-lived, however, because the alders quickly enhance the availability of N in the soil, which helps other plant species colonize these sites. Large changes in the community and ecosystem follow over the next ~150 years, which changes the environmental context of the relationship between alder and Frankia. How this relationship responds to these changes is the subject of my dissertation research.