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Resource library Teaching materials Evolution 101

Resource library : What is evolution and how does it work?


Species, speciation and the environment  Advanced
Niles Eldredge gives a historical overview of scientists' thinking on the process of speciation, along with modern perspectives on this issue.
This article appears at ActionBioscience.org.

Ring species: Unusual demonstrations of speciation  Advanced
Ring species, though a rare situation, provide valuable insights into how speciation occurs.
This article appears at ActionBioscience.org.

Aloha, spider style! The work of Rosemary Gillespie
This research profile follows Dr. Rosemary Gillespie to Hawaii as she evaluates hypotheses about the evolution of the colorful happy-face spider.

Speciation: The basics
Figuring out what species are is not as easy as one might think. Find out how biologists define species and how new species evolve.
This article is located within Evolution 101.

Modes of speciation
Find out how a shift in the course of river can alter evolutionary history. Speciation can occur in different ways depending upon how individuals in a population are distributed.
This article is located within Evolution 101.

Parsimonious explanations for punctuated patterns
Punctuated equilibrium is sometimes erroneously cited as evidence that evolutionary biology still hasn't figured out how evolution works. In fact nothing could be further from the truth. Punctuated equilibrium builds on (not tears down!) established evolutionary theory. Find out how the process works.
This article appears at SpringerLink.

Evo in the news: Happy 200th, Darwin!
This news brief, from February 2009, celebrates Darwin's bicentennial by examining what we've learned about the evolution of the Galapagos finches since Darwin's time.

Evo in the news: Sex, speciation, and fishy physics  Advanced
More than 500 species of cichlid fish inhabit Africa's Lake Victoria. This news brief from March 2009 explains new research suggesting that the physics of light may have played an important role in cichlid diversification and in the recent drop in their diversity.

15 evolutionary gems
This succinct briefing describes 15 examples drawn from recent research that demonstrate evolutionary theory’s power to explain natural phenomena, along with some of their supporting lines of evidence--from whale fossils to the latest in genetics.
This resource is available from Nature magazine.

Ernst Mayr: Speciation
Ernst Mayr conceptualized the process of speciation by geographic isolation, a key element in modern evolutionary theory.
This article is located within History of Evolutionary Thought.

A closer look at a classic ring species: The work of Tom Devitt
The Ensatina salamander has been extensively investigated because it is a ring species — a species that demonstrates how geography and the gradual accumulation of genetic differences factor into the process of speciation. Biologist Tom Devitt continues the more than 50 years of Ensatina research by applying new genetic techniques and asking new questions about this classic evolutionary example.

Radiations and extinctions: Biodiversity through the ages
This excerpted chapter from Carl Zimmer’s book, The Tangled Bank, describes the evolutionary processes responsible for large scale patterns in the diversity of life through time. Reprinted with the permission of Roberts and Company Publishers, Inc.
This resource is available from the National Center for Science Education.

Evo in the news: Speciation in real time
We often think of speciation as a slow process—so slow that we can’t really observe it going on around us. This news brief from Febrary 2010 describes two examples which demonstrate that, at least occasionally, important steps toward speciation can be observed in less than 50 years.

Monkey opsins
This case study in the form of a set of PowerPoint slides examines the evolution of trichromatic vision in old world monkeys.

Species Concepts in Birds
This investigation uses multimedia such as bird songs and their associated visualizations to initiate a discussion of traits that can be used to define a species and the resulting conservation implications of that definition.

¡Feliz cumpleaños número 200, Darwin!
Este 12 de febrero se cumplirían 200 años del nacimiento de Charles Darwin, y todo el mundo esta invitado a la fiesta. Numerosos grupos alrededor del mundo — desde niños en las escuelas primarias, hasta museos e iglesias — celebraran la ciencia de la evolución con conferencias públicas, clases, obras teatrales, exhibiciones artísticas y muchísimas galletas con forma de tortugas. 'Evolución en las noticias' de este mes contribuye a la celebración mediante la revisión de un tema cercano y querido por Darwin: los pinzones de Galápagos...

Sexo, especiación y física subacuática  Advanced
Evolución en las noticias relata una reciente historia que señala como comprender física básica puede revelar como la evolución esta ocurriendo hoy — en especial, como la física de la luz tiene influencia sobre la selección sexual, especiación y el colapso de la biodiversidad, producto de la polución causada por los humanos...

Especiación en tiempo real
Generalmente, pensamos en la especiación como un proceso lento. Toda la evidencia disponible sostiene la idea de que diferentes especies evolucionaron desde ancestros comunes, y sin embargo, nuevas especies no aparecen a nuestro alrededor diariamente. Para muchos biólogos, esto implica que la especiación ocurre tan lentamente que es difícil observarla en escalas de tiempo humanas. Sin embargo, nuevas investigaciones sugieren que la especiación podría ser más fácil de observar de lo que pensamos.