BIO 3602 (Biology II):  Ecology, Evolution, and Diversity

Course Description: Participants in this course will conduct a series of high school level laboratories, which will help them master the fundamental principles of evolutionary biology.  The main objective of this course is to provide high school teachers with helpful tools to develop science literacy and critical thinking in their students. By familiarizing the participants with the concepts underlying evolutionary theory, and providing them with the necessary resources, these labs, several of which include live animals as model systems, will provide hands-on activities in the areas of animal behavior (ethology), ecology and genetics. Through the overarching theme of evolutionary theory, participants will become familiarized with the concepts of: Evolution by natural selection; Misconceptions of Evolutionary Theory; Natural selection, fitness and adaptation; Speciation, gradualism, punctuated equilibrium, co-evolution; Population genetics, microevolution and macroevolution; Instinctive versus learned behavior; Genetic basis of behavior; Aggression, territoriality; Sexual selection (mate attraction, mate choice, reproductive success); Sociobiology; Animal communication; Abiotic and biotic factors as selection pressures.

This course is particularly timely in light of the recent anti-evolution sentiment permeating several public school districts. Through hands-on investigations, it will clarify what Evolution by Natural Selection is and what the main misconceptions about this theory are.  It will “demystify evolution” by means of laboratory investigations and respectful dialogue.  The aim is for participants to become familiar with these concepts so that they feel more comfortable bringing this important topic to their classroom.

Dates:             July 22 August 2, 2013, Monday – Friday each week

Time:              8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Instructors:    Rebeca Rosengaus, Juanita Shaffer

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