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Download a PC board design for the stimulator and SIU (23 October 2004).

See sources for a new supplier of crayfish and snails, and for a note on USDA regulations (27 Mar. 2003).

The Crawdad Project

The "Crawdad Project" was a three-year (1996-8) program funded by the National Science Foundation to promote the use of invertebrates in undergraduate physiology and neuroscience courses. The program culminated with the production of a CD-ROM laboratory manual. During each year of the program, a workshop for college teachers was conducted at Cornell University. These were held in June of 1996, 1997, and 1998. The purpose of the workshops was twofold: first, to give teachers hands-on experience with invertebrate preparations so they can incorporate them into classes and second, to allow ongoing testing and evaluation of instructional materials in the making.

The project had four parts:

  • Production of laboratory manuals for students and instructors.
  • Production of an instructional CD-ROM with video clips.
  • Workshops for college teachers, held each of the three years.
  • Ongoing support for instructors via the internet.

The laboratory exercises are inexpensive, easy to prepare, and straightforward for students. They use simple invertebrate preparations to illustrate fundamental processes of all nervous systems. The use of commercially cultured invertebrates (crayfish and snails) reduces cost and administrative overhead as well as potential ethical and environmental objections on the part of students. We have used and refined all of these exercises at Cornell and elsewhere over several years.

The laboratory exercises are based primarily on crayfish superficial flexor muscle and innervation, crayfish stretch receptor, and snail brain. Topics to be covered include motor innervation, neuroanatomy, sensory systems, ionic bases of resting and action potentials, synaptic transmission, synaptic plasticity, and central rhythms.

Funding Sources

Development of the Crawdad CD-ROM was funded by National Science Foundation grant 955095. Development of these labs prior to this grant was made possible by funding from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the National Institute of Mental Health, the Grass Foundation, the Division of Biological Sciences at Cornell University, and the Section of Neurobiology and Behavior at Cornell University.

Funded by NSF grant 9555095

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