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Education Report for November/December 2010

The AIBS Education Office provides analysis and communication for the AIBS Board, Headquarters Office, and Education Committee on issues of import to the AIBS membership and the larger scientific community. Reports are broadly disseminated by email every few months to AIBS membership leaders and contacts. Special reports are sent more frequently as needed. We have archived these reports here for your information and attention. Read about each report's contents below, then click to read the complete text.

Scientific Presentations on "Molecular Insights into Classic Examples of Evolution" Now Available

Interested in helping your students understand how cutting edge research in molecular evolution is revolutionizing our understanding of familiar examples of evolution? Watch videos from the 2010 Evolution Symposium, the annual event cosponsored by AIBS and the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent), online for free with them. Your students can learn about Butch Brodie’s research on the toxin arms race between newts and garter snakes, Allen Rodrigo’s insights into the value of studies in viral evolution, Hopi Hoekstra’s research on the underlying molecular mechanisms of coat color in beach mice, and Sean Carroll’s investigations into Drosophila wing coloration. To access the videos, go to this site: www.nescent.org/media/NABTSymposium2010.

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Molecular Evolution Teaching Resources from NESCent

The National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent) compiled resources to support the use of the 2010 Evolution Symposium’s content. Molecular evolution can be challenging for students, but a better understanding of the “genotype to phenotype” relationship can help address a number of common misconceptions about evolutionary concepts. You’ll find a collection of teaching resources, such as activities, papers, short videos and other ideas, on their website: www.nescent.org/media/NABT2010.

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New in Actionbioscience.org

  • Balancing Benefits and Risks of Synthetic Biology The field of synthetic biology challenges the way we see our world. Now that the first living “synthetic cell” has been created, University of Edinburgh’s Heather Lowrie suggests that the scientific community address ethical and safety concerns. www.actionbioscience.org/biotechnology/lowrie.html

  • Discovering Amazing Life in the Deep Sea Steven Haddock, of Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, talks about his experiences in deep-sea exploration and some of the issues that face marine life, such as changing water temperatures. www.actionbioscience.org/biodiversity/haddock.html

  • Designing a Landscape for Sustainability Molly Phemister, a landscape architect, explains that sustainability in landscape design has everything to do with complexity, the interrelationship of the parts to the whole over time. Designers are catalysts of a landscape’s ecological path, not sculptors or painters of a stagnant medium. www.actionbioscience.org/biodiversity/phemister.html

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Understanding Science Compiles Evidence for Teaching the Nature and Process of Science

Understanding Science (www.understandingscience.org) exists to “provide a fun, accessible, and free resource that accurately communicates what science is and how it really works.” Now the developers have compiled evidence based on education research that illustrates the most effective strategies to teach the nature and process of science, as well as the concepts most challenging for students to learn and for teachers to address. For an annotated bibliography, go to this site: www.understandingscience.org/teaching/educational_research.php.

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