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Online Resources for Evolution Education

Links current as of June 16, 2005

educational websites - models/simulations - online tutorials/activities - pages of links


Educational Web Sites. **Sites with online journals.

  • Advances in Physiology Education ** Online journal with articles describing laboratory exercises. Currently not much in the way of evolution labs, but might be worth a look for creative approaches to studying physiology in college laboratories. 
  • Biology Education Online (BEoN) - Peer reviewed journal for biology exercises for  K-16 by AccessExcellence folks.  New in November 2002. Has a few lab exercises up at this point, with more still under review.
  • BiosciEcNet (BEN)  - AAAS maintained education site. Free to registered users. It  has a lot of "non-journal articles" written for teaching purposes - explaining key concepts in a pedagogically friendly manner. There are also some laboratory exercises in its collection.
  • Cell Biology Education - **Online journal that includes peer-reviewed laboratory exercises, broadly in cell biology - but many have evolutionary applications.
  • EcoEdNet : Educational site of the Ecological Society of America. Contains links to laboratory and field exercises in ecology. Free to registered users.


  • EvoNet : Large evolution resource site for academics and educators. List of links to a variety of resources, including laboratory exercises. Not updated recently and email for site administrator is non-functional.
  • FIRST II . "FIRST II is a national dissemination network that provides long-term professional development for life science faculty in teaching and learning." Links to various field stations around the country that are offering faculty development courses in creating field exercises for students.
  • Laboratory Exercises in Animal Behavior . R. Brooks and K. Yasukawa . Short lab/field exercises in animal behavior / behavioral ecology. Sponsored by the Animal Behavior Society. Designed for high school students, but  could easily be modified for use in undergraduate classes. 
  • National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT). Educational association promoting the teaching of biology from K-16. Publishes the American Biology Teacher. ABT regularly includes how-to laboratory exercises suitable for college students. Website includes some downloadable samples from the journal, but to access laboratory exercises, it is necessary to look at a hard copy of the journal.
  • The Plant Health Instructor - ** Online, peer-reviewed journal for educational exercises in plant pathology. Some exercises have systematics / phylogenetics applications.
  • Resonance - Journal of Science Education -  ** Online journal from India (English language). Mostly informational articles aimed at students and teachers. Has some useful articles on evolutionary biology, especially biographical sketches on major figures in evolution.
  • Teaching Evolutionary Biology - J. Brown (Grinnell College). List of courses and resources for teaching evolutionary biology - including laboratory exercises. Last updated 1999, according to website.

Models / Computer Simulations

  • EvoBeaker - SimBiotic Software. From the same source as EcoBeaker . EvoBeaker is currently in development, but promises to have a dozen evolution labs when completed. "The prototype has two laboratories, one on evolution of guppy color through different types of selection (a microevolution lab), the other on reconstructing phylogenetic trees of domesticated dogs (a macroevolution lab)." It is currently available for download to Windows machines at academic institutions. EcoBeaker is a fee-based program.
  • Evoprograms : Evolutionary programs for Mac computers. Haven Wiley (University of North Carolina). Freeware. Includes two programs that model group selection and speciation
  • Goodknight Software : Keith Goodknight (Southern Methodist University). "Programs for population genetic and relatedness calculations, and education in evolution and behavioral ecology." Mostly MacIntosh, with some Windows programs.
  • Population Biology Simulations . Kent Holsinger (Univerisity of Connecticut). A large set of population genetics JAVA applets that Holsinger uses in teaching. Wahlund effect, ABO blood groups, natural selection, genetic drift, etc.
  • Populus: Simulations of population biology. Don Alstad (University of Minnesota). Freeware. Simulations of population biology and evolutionary ecology. Laboratory manual to accompany program now available for purchase. Alstad, D.N. 2001. Basic Populus Models of Ecology. Prentice-Hall, Inc. Upper Saddle River, NJ

Other Online Interactive Exercises / Tutorials

  • Genetic Origins . Cold Spring Harbor Labs -"This site provides biochemical methods and computer tools to allow students to use their own DNA "fingerprints" as a starting point in the study of human evolution. Two experiments are currently available, which are supported by reagents and ready-to-use kits available from Carolina Biological Supply Company."
  • Biology Labs Online -Commercial site with several lab model exercises with evolutionary applications. (Suggested labs include: "Evolution Lab" - models Darwin's Finches, "Pop Eco Lab" - predator/prey interactions, and "Pop Genetics Lab").  For review of using these labs in classroom, see Review by Judith T. Parmelee, Manchester Community College. If you're interested in using the labs, you can sign up for a trial period at no cost.
  • BioInteractive (Howard Hughes Medical Institute) -Interactive online labs / exercises for students (mostly secondary school audience).  Check out the "Evolution of the Y chromosome". 
  • Evolution and Ecology (J. Brown, Grinnell College). Course website - several clearly written laboratory exercises in ecology and evolution
  • Evolution and Game Theory - (Kenneth N. Prestwich - College of the Holy Cross). Guided simulation / exercises for students learning about evolutionary game theory. Includes discussion questions for students after they have run the exercises. 
  • Genetics and Evolution Tutorial  - online tutorial explaining some basic principles of evolution. Good resource for introductory level college classes if students are having trouble with basics in genetics and evolution.
  • The Biology Project  - University of Arizona. More online tutorials in several areas of biology. Mendelian genetics tutorial is probably most relevant, but also check out "Human Biology" which has some activities to reconstruct human pedigrees. There are no "activities" listed for the genetics area at this time, but other biology topics have some interesting web-based interactivities, so exercises for genetics/evolution might be added in the future.
  • Principles of Animal Behavior - University of Arizona. Interactive tutorials about basic principles in animal behavior (strong behavioral ecology component). Sexual selection models, territorial displays, interspecific mutualisms, etc.
  • Genome consortium for active teaching (GCAT) -Goals as stated on home page: "1) Bring Functional Genomic Methods into Undergraduate Curriculum Primarily Through Student Research - 2) Use Centralized Chip Reader to Make Microarray Experiments Affordable - 3) Create a Clearing House of Information for Teachers to Use when Teaching Genomics - 4) Create Large Database of Raw Data and Analyzed Results for Pedagogical Use - 5) Develop a Global Network of Teachers Using Functional Genomics in the Undergraduate Curriculum"

Pages of Links

  • Websites for Biology . (The Commission on Biology Education). Education focused biology links. Links to general science education websites as well as a list of book resources for teaching biology.

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