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Resource library Teaching materials Evolution 101

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Conservation

Resources:

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The Monterey Pine through geologic time  Advanced
Understanding the evolutionary history of the Monterey Pine may help us conserve this species.

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Fire ants invade and evolve  Advanced
Understanding the evolution of fire ants may help scientists control the spread of these pests, which have already taken over much of the U.S.

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Evo in the news: Conserving the kakapo
This news brief, from April 2006, chronicles how researchers are using evolutionary theory to guide their strategies for conserving a critically endangered parrot - with some impressive results!

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Using trees to understand plants: The work of Chelsea Specht
This research profile follows scientist Chelsea Specht as she pieces together the evolutionary history of tropical plants and their pollinators--and in the process, tries to figure out how to conserve endangered species.

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Evo in the news: Warming to evolution
Global warming increasingly affects many aspects of our environment, from the sea level to tropical storm strength. But that's far from the full story. This news brief from July 2006 describes how global warming has already begun to affect the evolution of several species on Earth.

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Ancient fossils and modern climate change: The work of Jennifer McElwain
Wondering how global warming will affect our planet? Scientist Jennifer McElwain studies the fossil record in order to learn more about how global warming has affected life on Earth in the past and how it might affect life on Earth in the future.

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Angling for evolutionary answers: The work of David O. Conover
Human activity has certainly affected our physical environment - but it is also changing the course of evolution. This research profile follows scientist David O. Conover as he investigates the impact of our fishing practices on fish evolution and discovers what happened to the big ones that got away.

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Evo in the news: Where species come from
Lush tropical ecosystems house many times more species than temperate or Arctic regions. This news brief from November 2006 discusses the evolutionary explanation for this diversity trend and reveals why threats to tropical ecosystems may threaten diversity on a global scale.

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Evo in the news: Evolving conservation strategies
This news brief, from June 2007, explains how biologists are using evolutionary theory to protect the biodiversity that exists today and that may evolve tomorrow.

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Evo in the news: Cheating cheetahs prosper
Biologists have discovered that female cheetahs consistently seek out multiple mates. This news brief, from July 2007, explains how the evolutionary implications of this behavior may help conservation efforts targeting these endangered animals.

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How to survive a mass extinction: The work of David Jablonski
Through detailed analysis of patterns in the fossil record, scientist David Jablonski reconstructs the rules that helped dictate who lived and died in past mass extinctions. This research profile describes his surprising discoveries and their disturbing implications for the biodiversity crisis today.

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Evo in the news: Evolution down under
This news brief, from September of 2008, describes an unusual contagious cancer currently decimating Tasmanian devil populations. Learn about the fascinating interplay between the evolution of the devils and the evolution of the disease.

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Evo in the news: Tough conservation choices? Ask evolution
The earth is facing a biodiversity crisis. Nearly 50% of animal and plant species could disappear within our lifetime. To stem this rapid loss of biodiversity, we'll need to act quickly -- but where should we begin? This news brief, from December 2008, explains how evolutionary history can help us set conservation priorities.

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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.

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Evo in the news: Coping with climate change
This news brief from May 2009 explores the difference between phenotypic plasticity and evolutionary change in relation to the media's coverage of climate change.

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Interview: Massimo Pigliucci on evolution's importance to society
This interview with State University of New York professor Massimo Pigliucci reveals some surprising applications of evolutionary theory: from treatment of human disease, to forensics, to software engineering.
This article appears at ActionBioscience.org.

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Evo in the news: A species' unwelcome inheritance - extinction risk  Advanced
Even as the world loses species at an unprecedented rate, conservationists are struggling to save them. But where should they focus their efforts? This news brief from September 2009 describes new research suggesting that evolutionary history is an important factor in determining which species are at the gravest risk of extinction.

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Evo in the news: Genetic variation helps rescue endangered panthers
In the 1990s, scientists predicted that the Florida panther would be extinct within 20 years and, in 1995, formulated a bold plan to save them. This news brief of December 2010 reports on the success of that plan which gave the panther a second lease on life by the infusion of genetic variation.

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Evo in the news: Toxic river means rapid evolution for one fish species
This news brief from March 2011 examines the genetic basis for the evolution of resistance to PCBs in the Hudson River tomcod. Though this is great for the tomcod, what might it mean for other organisms in the ecosystem?

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Relevance of evolution: Conservation
Explore just a few of the many cases in which evolutionary theory helps us form conservation strategies.

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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.

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Evo in the News: Climate change causes loss of genetic diversity
This news brief, from April 2012, describes how climate change is affecting a population of chipmunks in Yosemite National Park. The chipmunks' loss of genetic variation may affect their ability to survive and their future evolutionary potential.

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Evo in the News: Lessons for today in ancient mass extinctions  Advanced
This news brief, from May 2012, describes new research on the end-Ordovician mass extinction and the lessons we might glean about extinctions going on around us today.

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Evo in the News: Acidic oceans prompt evolution  Advanced
This news brief, from October 2012, describes new research into the evolutionary response that ocean acidification may prompt in some plankton species.

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¿Decisiones de conservación difíciles? Pregúntale a la evolución
¿Si tu casa se incendiara, que es lo que te llevarías cuando estés huyendo? La decisión puede ser difícil entre juguetes de niños, álbumes de fotos y documentos importantes compitiendo por tu atención. Desafortunadamente, nos enfrentamos con una decisión difícil cuando tenemos que definir nuestros esfuerzos de conservación. Las actividades humanas podrían estar desencadenado la sexta extinción masiva de la Tierra...

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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...

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La herencia inoportuna de una especie: riesgo de extinción  Advanced
El tema de septiembre, biodiversidad y conservación, en celebración del Año de la Ciencia, la historia de este mes esta basada en el enemigo de la diversidad: la extinción. El mundo se enfrenta a lo que podría ser la sexta extinción masiva. Estamos perdiendo especies a un ritmo sin precedentes — 100 a 1000 veces más alto que a lo largo de la mayor parte de la historia de la tierra...