- BBC documentary: “What Darwin Didn’t Know” (whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com)
Natural History, Environment and Education
2011/2012 has been chosen as the Year of the Bat, a campaign to help us understand and protect these unique flying mammals.
From Merlin D. Tuttle, Ambassador for the Year of the Bat:
Education regarding the essential roles of bats in maintaining healthy ecosystems and human economies has never been more important. Bats are found nearly everywhere and approximately 1,200 species account for almost a quarter of all mammals. Nevertheless, in recent decades their populations have declined alarmingly. Many are now endangered, though they provide invaluable services that we cannot afford to lose.Simply because they are active only at night and difficult to observe and understand, bats rank among our planet’s most misunderstood and intensely persecuted mammals. Those that eat insects are primary predators of the vast numbers that fly at night, including ones that cost farmers and foresters billions of dollars in losses annually. As such bats decline, demands for dangerous pesticides grow, as does the cost of growing crops like rice, corn and cotton.Fruit and nectar-eating bats are equally important in maintaining whole ecosystems of plant life. In fact, their seed dispersal and pollination services are crucial to the regeneration of rain forests which are the lungs and rain makers of our planet. Many of the plants which depend on such bats are additionally of great economic value, their products ranging from timber and tequila to fruits, spices, nuts and even natural pesticides.
The latest ecition of the Carnival of Evolution is now up at the Lab Rat. This blogger is a undergraduate biochemist, and revels in bacteria. Says the Lab Rat:
Whats I find really interesting about the science of evolution is that it brings together so many people from different fields of study. Understanding and studying the common origins of species, and their diversification requires skills that range across multiple different types of science, so in this carnival I am going to celebrate the multidisciplinary nature of the study of evolution.
Visit now for a cool collection of carnivalia.
One of the best online evolution resources for educators is Understanding Evolution, produced by University of California Museum of Paleontology and the National Center for Science Education. Understanding Evolution has recently been updated and expanded, so I’ll share a recent newsletter that provides some of the details.
From Understanding Evolution:
March 21, 2010
Though we often think of evolution as occurring at a snail’s pace, one fish species is highlighting just how quickly evolution can occur in the right circumstances. Between 1947 and 1976, General Electric released more than a million pounds of toxic PCBs into the Hudson River. Now, scientists have discovered that, over the past 60 years, one fish species, the Atlantic tomcod, has evolved resistance to PCBs. Get the whole story at:
… along with teaching resources, advanced discussion questions for undergraduates, and links to additional information.
We are pleased to announce that this month, Understanding Evolution underwent a major update and expansion! Explore http://www.understandingevolution.org to see our new look and features. On the new Understanding Evolution website, you’ll find all the content and teaching material you’ve come to rely on–plus many new tools and resources, including:
* Teachers’ Lounges – with everything you need to teach evolution at *your* grade level, from kindergarten through college, http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/teach/index.php
* A Resource Library – to help you find exactly what you need on the site, http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/resourcelibrary.php
* An Image Library – so you can locate and download images to use in presentations and activities, http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/search/imagelibrary.php
* A better search function for the lesson database – to help you find exactly the lesson, lab, reading, video, or online activity you need for your teaching, http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/search/search_lessons.php
In upcoming months, we’ll be highlighting these and other new features of Understanding Evolution, so stay tuned!
The Understanding Evolution team
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