Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology
Iowa State University
253 Bessey Hall
Ames, IA 50011-1020
Office: 113 Bessey Hall
Phone: (515) 294-9330
Fax: (515) 294-1337
Email: jtcolber@iastate.edu


My initial research training and experience was in various aspects of plant biology. More recently, my professional and research activities have focused on issues related to student learning of biology including research on evolution education. I am involved with collaborative research projects focused on helping students come to better understand the nature of science, as well as projects focused on improving the biology content knowledge of both in-service and pre-service teachers. I also participate in a range of efforts at the university-level aimed at improving instruction in large format classes. I am active in science education at the state level by serving as an officer for the Iowa Academy of Science. As part of my interest in biology education, I serve as the Undergraduate Biology Program Coordinator for our interdepartmental Biology Major of approximately 550 students. I currently teach the Biology Majors’ section the first semester of our Principles of Biology course and help coordinate the associated laboratory class. I also teach a biology field trip course that focuses on the biodiversity of the boreal forest and a course on the biodiversity of bryophytes and lichens. My interest in bryophytes and lichens is also reflected in a small research project focused on developing inventories of these organisms in some of Iowa’s State Preserves, as well as developing a state-wide inventory and distribution map for lichens known to be present in the state. A significant portion of my professional goals revolve around encouraging greater engagement of undergraduate students in the Biology Program. Consequently, serve as the faculty advisor for our undergraduate Biological Sciences Club. I also participate in our first-year student biology learning community by coordinating a service-learning activity that we call the “Skunk River Navy”. This activity involves students in biological monitoring in local streams, as well as removal of trash from those streams.