National Association of Biology Teachers Annual Meeting, October 2005

Presentations and Teaching Resources Now Available Online

AIBS co-sponsored an all-day symposium on the theme of "evolution and environment" at the 2005 annual meeting of the National Association of Biology Teachers in Milwaukee. The cosponsors of the symposium were the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS) and the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent). Speakers provided updates in evolution research, with a focus on the causal connections between evolution and environmental health and change. Scroll down to view and download each of the presentations and link to relevant classroom resources.

The presentations were followed by an afternoon BSCS workshop. The workshop commenced with the premier screening of the newly released BSCS/AIBS video, "Evolution—Why Bother?" Participants then learned about other evolution curriculum materials and explored some of the education resources from the new BSCS/AIBS book, "Evolutionary Science and Society: Educating a New Generation," which is based upon the symposium of the same name that AIBS and BSCS held at the 2004 NABT annual convention. The book is available for purchase in the AIBS Webstore.

After the symposium, AIBS and BSCS held a special discussion session titled, "Defending the teaching of evolution—national and local resources for educators." For more information on AIBS evolution initiatives, please visit Evolution Initiatives.

Symposium Schedule and Program: Evolution and the Environment

Sponsored by AIBS, BSCS, and NESCent

7 October, Morning



Gordon E. Uno, University of Oklahoma, Department of Botany and Microbiology, Norman, OK; Chair, AIBS Education Committee; homepage

9:15 - 10:00

The Diversification of Flowering Plants: Key Innovations and Radiations

Pamela Soltis, Curator, Laboratory of Molecular Systematics and Evolutionary Genetics, Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL; profile

Download Presentation (1.70 MB PDF) author's permission required for reuse

The flowering plants (angiosperms) diversified rapidly soon after their appearance in the fossil record nearly 130 million years ago, and the periodic radiations they have undergone since characterize angiosperm phylogeny. Soltis explored the role that floral and other changes played in spurring radiations and diversification to yield the 300,000+ species of flowering plants on Earth today.

Science Resources & Classroom Activities

10:00 - 10:45

The Role of Climatic Change in the Evolution of Mammals

Anthony D. Barnosky, Department of Integrative Biology and Museums of Paleontology and Vertebrate Zoology, University of California, Berkeley, CA; profile

Download Presentation (3.01 MB PDF) author's permission required for reuse

The paleontological record of mammals offers many examples of evolutionary change in a diversity of animals that range from large-bodied species such as elephants and horses to tiny rodents and insectivores. Some researchers have presented evidence that certain climatic changes stimulate evolution, whereas others argue cogently that interactions between species are more important than climate change in accelerating natural selection. Barnosky addressed the question Do evolutionary effects of climatic change manifest at different levels of the biological hierarchy, depending on the rate and magnitude of the climatic change?

Science & Classroom/Teaching Resources

10:45 - 11:00


11:00 - 11:45

Evolution and Diversification in the Tropical Crop, Cassava

Barbara Schaal and Kenneth Olsen, Department of Biology, Washington University, St. Louis, MO; profile

Download Presentation (2.62 MB PDF) author's permission required for reuse

Cassava is one of the most important crops in the world today. Evolutionary studies show that the crop was domesticated in the southwestern part of the Amazon basin. Schaal and Olsen described the varieties of cassava used by the indigenous people of this region and the important traits that have potential for enhancing the nutrition of people in the developing world.

Science Resources

11:45 - 12:30

Amphibian Population Declines and Some Misconceptions about Natural Selection

Andrew R. Blaustein, Department of Zoology, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR; profile

Download Presentation (3.94 MB PDF) author's permission required for reuse

Seemingly adaptive behaviors that have persisted in amphibians for millions of years appear to be putting amphibians in harm's way under today's environmental conditions. Blaustein discussed several factors contributing to amphibian population declines.

Science & Classroom Resources

7 October, Afternoon


Afternoon Introduction

John R. Jungck, Beloit College and BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium, Biology Deparment, Beloit, WI; AIBS Education Committee; homepage

1:30 - 2:15

Ecological Change Drives Evolutionary Diversification: A Case Study with Caribbean Lizards

Jonathan B. Losos, Department of Biology, Washington University, Saint Louis, MO; profile

Download Presentation (5.13 MB PDF) author's permission required for reuse

Evolutionary trees built using DNA data indicate that Anolis lizards have evolved separately on different Caribbean islands, yet the end result is the same set of habitat specialists on each islands. Manipulative experiments on natural populations over a microevolutionary time scale support the hypothesis that interspecific interactions have driven this evolutionary divergence.

Science & Classroom Resources

2:15 - 3:00

When Humans Create Rapid Evolution by Changing the Environment

Stephen Palumbi, Hopkins Marine Station, Stanford University, Pacific Grove, CA; profile

Download Presentation (4.24 MB PDF) author's permission required for reuse

Without evolutionary science, we could not understand how HIV becomes so deadly, how to win the arms race with bacterial diseases, or how to prevent the next global flu epidemic. The value of science is that it is explanatory and predictive, leading to technology to enhance society.

Science Resources

3:00 - 3:15


3:15 - 5:00

Evolution Teaching Resources - Biological Sciences Curriculum Study Workshop

Leader: Jerry L. Phillips, Science Educator & Project Director, and Mark V. Bloom, Science Educator, Biological Sciences Curriculum Study, Colorado Springs, CO; website

This two-hour workshop organized by Biological Sciences Curriculum Study provided participants with resources and strategies to teach evolution in the classroom. Including the newly released film "Evolution—Why Bother?"

Visit to order.


Symposium ends

Special Session: Defending the Teaching of Evolution

Sponsored by AIBS and BSCS

5:00 - 6:00

Leader: Robert E. Gropp, AIBS Director of Public Policy, Washington DC

With active movements to introduce intelligent design/creationism into the science curricula in nearly 20 states and recent statements by the president and Senate majority leader, the well-funded political movement to redefine science is quite alive. In this environment, evolution and the nature of science are in jeopardy of being redefined to serve political agendas. Indeed, these attacks on science go beyond evolution. Educators, scientists, and others must begin to effectively and energetically defend the teaching of science. This session, convened by the American Institute of Biological Sciences, reviewed the current state of affairs regarding threats to evolution education and present information and policy resources available to educators. It was also an opportunity for concerned educators to share information and develop contacts.

Visit AIBS Policy Issues Related to Teaching Evolution for more information.

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