Joe Dauer

Joe Dauer

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  • My Story
  • Publications & Presentations
  • Background
  • Expertise & Interests
  • Grants
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  • Courses Taught
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Title Life Sciences Education
Address 524 Hardin Hall
3310 Holdrege Street
Lincoln NE
68583-0995
Phone 402-540-1280
FAX 402-472-2946
Cell 402-540-1280
E-mail joseph.dauer@unl.edu
Vitae Download file

Hello, my name is Joe Dauer and I am an assistant professor of life science education in the School of Natural Resources. As a life sciences education researcher, I focus on how undergraduate students learn biology.

My research broadly rests at the intersection of biology (e.g. genetics, ecology, and evolution), education and cognitive psychology. At UNL, my work focuses on how students learn to organize biological concepts using systems thinking. How students organize their learning is like building a subdivision of houses (i.e. biological concepts). A student can choose to build roads with dead-end cul-de-sacs or rectangular blocks. If a student stores biological concepts in cul-de-sacs, there is only one way to access that knowledge, and it is very hard for that particular arrangement of concepts to make sense in a different scenario. If a student stores it in rectangular blocks, then there are multiple routes to access the biological concepts. This is especially important if some pieces of information are forgotten and that student still needs to access the knowledge. In the classroom, this means providing opportunities to build an infrastructure of connections among biology concepts and challenging students to apply this network to new contexts and scenarios.

I am currently working on two research themes: biological models and reasoning across biological scales.

1) Biological Models. I am investigating how students interpret conceptual models (usually visual representations of biological systems), and how the complexity of the models supports or hinders their learning about the biological system. For example, I present students with a model of nitrogen cycling and ask students to draw conclusions from the model. Then I determine how students' reasoning changes when the effects of a perturbation (e.g., removal of an organism, nutrient loading, or human intervention) are nonlinear, indirect, or cyclical. For example, can a student correctly deduce how changes in a predator population would concurrently affect prey abundance, soil nitrogen levels, and plant community diversity?

2) Scale Reasoning. The second theme is an emerging collaboration to better understand how students reason across biological scales during their first biology courses at UNL. In our current curriculum, the courses are divided between cellular/molecular and organismal/ecosystem. This reduces the opportunity for students to consider the underlying cellular mechanisms for ecological and evolutionary change. We are eager to learn the barriers to reasoning across these scales and the in-class teaching activities that facilitate improved reasoning skills.

My biology education research is grounded in my background in ecology. My graduate research at Penn State University was on long-distance seed dispersal of herbicide-resistant weeds in agricultural systems. I continued research on invasive species population dynamics at Oregon State University. I also completed postdoctoral research at Michigan State University studying model construction in undergraduate biology.

Selected Publications

Dauer, J.T. and E. Jongejans. 2013. Elucidating the population dynamics of Japanese knotweed using integral projection models. PLoS ONE 8:e75181.   On-Line
Dauer, J.T., Momsen, J.L., Bray-Speth, E., Makohon-Moore, S., and T.M. Long. 2013. Analysis of Student-Constructed Models of Complex Biological Systems. Journal of Research in Science Teaching. 50(6):639-659.   On-Line

 

Selected Presentations

Using Education Theory: Learning From the Past to Shape the Future of Ecology Teaching.
  • Presentation Type: Oral Presentation
  • Date: 8/7/2013
  • Abstract:
  • Full Citation: Dauer, J., Long, T., Kostelnik, K., and Usoro, E. 2013. Using Education Theory: Learning From the Past to Shape the Future of Ecology Teaching. Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting Symposium
Predicting ecosystem outcomes from concrete and abstract models.
  • Presentation Type: Oral Presentation
  • Date: 7/13/2013
  • Abstract:
  • Full Citation: Dauer, J., Thomas, S., and Long, T. 2013. Predicting ecosystem outcomes from concrete and abstract models. Society for the Advancement of Biology Education Research, Annual Meeting.
Modeling the growth of new Japanese knotweed infestations.
  • Presentation Type: Oral Presentation
  • Date: 2/6/2013
  • Abstract:
  • Full Citation: Dauer, J. and E. Jongejans. 2013. Modeling the growth of new Japanese knotweed infestations. Weed Science Soceity of America, Annual Meeting.
Long-term skill retention in undergraduate biology students.
  • Presentation Type: Oral Presentation
  • Date: 8/7/2012
  • Abstract:
  • Full Citation: Dauer, J., Long, T., Kostelnik, K., Zdziarska, P., and Wagley, N. 2012. Long-term skill retention in undergraduate biology students. Ecological Society of America, Annual Meeting.
Change in correctness and complexity of student-constructed models during a course.
  • Presentation Type: Oral Presentation
  • Date: 3/28/2012
  • Abstract:
  • Full Citation: Dauer, J., Long, T., Momsen, J., Bray-Speth, E., Makohon-Moore, S., Kostelnik, K., Zdziarska, P., and Wagley, N. 2012. Change in correctness and complexity of student-constructed models during a course. National Association for Research on Science Teaching, Annual Meeting.
Attack of the Japanese knotweed rhizomes: How many, how far, how fast?
  • Presentation Type: Oral Presentation
  • Date: 2/8/2012
  • Abstract:
  • Full Citation: Dauer, J., and E. Jongejans. 2012. Attack of the Japanese knotweed rhizomes: How many, how far, how fast? Weed Science Society of America Annual Meeting.

SNR Mission Area(s)

  • Applied Ecology

Affiliations (index)

Professional Organizations

  • American Association for the Advancement of Science
    •  
  • Ecological Society of America
    •  
  • Society for the Advancement of Biology Education Research
    •  

Notable Websites

Areas of Interest

  • Science Literacy
  • Undergraduate Learning in Biology
  • Visualizations
  • Cognition
  • Pedagogy
  • Plant Ecology
  • Population Dynamics

SNR Areas of Expertise

Keyword Expert Level

10 - Top Expert
1 - Mild Interest

Science Literacy

7

Select a keyword and see other SNR faculty and staff with this interest or expertise.

Currently this page only displays grants that were awarded on 1/1/2009 to the present. If a grant was awarded prior to 1/1/2009 and is still active, it will not be displayed on this page.

Grant Title Working with Rural Students to Document Swift Fox on Nebraska Ranches
Starting Date 6/9/2015
Principal Investigators
TJ Fontaine
Co-PIs
Joe Dauer
Ending Date 6/30/2018
Funding Level $258,757.00
Funding Source Nebraska Environmental Trust

 
Grant Title NARST Annual Conference
Starting Date 1/1/2015
Principal Investigators
Joe Dauer
Ending Date 6/30/2015
Funding Level $500.00
Funding Source IANR Travel Funds

 

Graduate Program(s)

Master of Science in Natural Resource Sciences


including specializations in
  • Applied Ecology
  • Human Dimensions

Doctor of Philosophy in Natural Resource Sciences


including specializations in
  • Applied Ecology

Courses Taught
Course Number Course Title Fall Even Years Fall Odd Years Spring Even Years Spring Odd Years Summer Session Cross Listing
LIFE 121 Fundamentals of Biology II X X X X n/a