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I have begun an ambitious effort to inventory and assess the concepts I want my students to master. Check out my Conceptual Teaching Assessment Project!
Recent Major Posts
- A modest presentation on Open Information Environments
- Review of What We Made by Tom Finkelpearl
- When Facebook performs a manipulative experiment on its users, the results are interesting, the methods disturbing
- Choosing a more sustainable web host
- Do humans form genetically similar social groups independent of kinship?
- My Evolution 2014 talk is on YouTube
- Evolution 2014: Overall Impressions
- Evolution 2014: Day 4
- Evolution 2014: Day 3
- Evolution 2014: Day 2
Recent Minor Posts
- Back to the old theme
- Water, Alfalfa, China, and a modern Tragedy of the Commons
- New theme in development for this site
- Ben Knight’s “Phyletic gradualism / Punctuated equilibrium”
- A nice synopsis of some reasons for laughter
- This site is now hosted by A Small Orange
- Do cancer cells play cooperate in the Prisoner’s Dilemma?
- The Wallace Darwin Project has a logo
- Recommendations for creating a more student-centered classroom
- Evolution 2014: Synthesis centers can serve as incubators if they buffer researchers from the risk of failure
Category Archives: Society for the Study of Evolution
One nice thing that organizers of the Evolution 2014 conference did was to offer the opportunity for presenters to have their talk recorded and archived. These recorded talks now have their own Evolution 2014 YouTube Channel, and my talk is included in … Continue reading
Great organization of a great conference I had a great Evolution 2014 conference, and that has a lot to do with how it was organized. Raleigh was a nice location for the conference: it has an intimate conference center, with enough … Continue reading
Tuesday was a busy day for me, with a pair of Education sessions in the morning, including the one containing my own talk. Thus far I have been really impressed with the education-related sessions available at Evolution 2014. Almost all of … Continue reading
Evolution 2014: Synthesis centers can serve as incubators if they buffer researchers from the risk of failure
NESCent director Allen Rodrigo suggested that if synthesis centers want to serve as research incubators, they need to allow researchers to pursue risky research questions without having to pay the risk of failure. In some sense he is arguing for society … Continue reading
After a couple of pretty busy days at the Evolution 2014 meeting, I figured that I would go selective on the talks, take a little field trip away from the meeting, and make sure that I was ready for my own talk … Continue reading
About five years ago I developed my Evolution course, which is aimed at my non-majors art and design students. I have not taught this course in more than two years, and as it has sat on the shelf I have … Continue reading
Patricia Hawley points out a great way that you can “teach both sides of the controversy” between evolution and intelligent design. In her Evolutionary Psychology course she has students deconstruct intelligent design propaganda, explaining where it makes erroneous arguments or misrepresents … Continue reading
Ross Nehm talked about the EvoGrader resource, which uses machine learning to automatically score student assessments designed to look at student understanding of the evolutionary process.
Rebecca Price and Tessa Andrews have a clever way of assessing the understanding of students who harbor creationist beliefs in evolutionary biology courses. Rather than force them to state answers to questions that assert a factual claim about the way the actual … Continue reading
The Evolution Film Festival was amazing! So many great films and such a wonderful, fun social atmosphere in which to enjoy them. The Evolution 2014 meeting would not be the same without these kinds of events.
My first session of the day was spent entirely in a Symbiosis session. I am fascinated by symbiosis, particularly mutualistic symbiosis, so I am always looking for cool new stories to help illustrate the concept for my students. This session featured … Continue reading
Patrick McLaughlin showed work on Bioko Island suggesting that frogs there may be protected from the ill effects of chytrid infection by the presence of bacterial symbionts. These symbionts produce metabolites that lower rates of parasitic infection, suggesting that symbionts … Continue reading
Evolution 2014: Are island mutualist communities more likely to be nested because they are inherently more unstable?
The interactions in ecological communities can be structured in a variety of ways, and recently there has been a push to categorize these networks along the spectrum between modular (smaller clusters of more specialized interactions) and nested (unclustered networks with … Continue reading
Mary McKenna of Howard University presented work that suggested that thyme plants may be facultative mutualists when associated with various legume species. In work done at the Blandy Experimental Farm, her students have demonstrated that legumes growing in the presence of thyme … Continue reading
Erin McKenney of Duke University talked about three lemur species with different diets: a frugivore (fruit-eater), a generalist, and a folivore (leaf-eater). Not surprisingly their gut morphologies and passing times vary with their diet, but McKenney showed that they also … Continue reading
Evolution 2014: Aphids protect themselves from parasitoids by harboring a bacteria whose viral parasite is toxic
Andrew Smith of Drexel University spoke about a four-species interaction that could best be described as “my symbiont’s enemy is my parasitoid’s toxic enemy” scenario. Aphids can avoid being parasitized by a parasitoid wasp if they harbor particular bacterial strains. What’s interesting … Continue reading
I started off this year’s Evolution meeting early. The conference is — at its core — a four-day affair. But the days leading into the “official” start on Friday evening feature larger workshops aimed at building skills. I chose to … Continue reading
Will Ratcliff presented an absolutely amazing set of laboratories that explore the evolution of multicellularity (http://www.snowflakeyeastlab.com/). They can be done with high school or college students, and allow students to see the benefits of cooperation and the action of multilevel … Continue reading
Susan Singer, who is part of the National Science Foundation’s Undergraduate Biology Education division, talked about funding opportunities for faculty who want to create pedagogical materials at small undergraduate institutions. She pointed out that the NSF‘s Research Coordination Networks program funds projects that … Continue reading