Illustrating Ecology: Artwork for Visualizing Concepts in the General Biology Lab
Dr. Kathy Winnett-Murray
Scientific illustration plays a very important role in science education by providing students, scientists, and the general public with greater scientific understanding through visualization. Illustrations of the natural world have always been and continue to be crucial to society’s comprehension of science. Illustrations allow freedom to display concepts and ideas that we cannot fully convey with text. For instance, biological depictions range in scale from 3D models of microbiological structures to large-scale ecosystems. The purpose of this project was to use illustrations to help students visualize biological concepts, prepare them for laboratory procedures, and inspire them to continue in the sciences at Hope College. These illustrations were created for the General Biology Laboratory Handbook (Biology 107) at Hope College. The drawings were created using traditional graphite and ink, and were given a clean finish using Adobe Photoshop®. The illustrations were developed using concepts, descriptions, and directions the handbook provided, and they attempt to convey as many important points or concepts within them in a simple, informative manner. These drawings explain ecological concepts, directions for laboratory procedures, and anatomical features that may be difficult to visualize using only photographs. Some examples include forest succession (ecological concepts), recording and calculating stomatal density (laboratory procedures), and anatomical features in perch and daphnia.
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