SELECTION: Synergistic Evolutionary LEarning Consortium: Evolution in AcTION

The Synergistic Evolutionary LEarning Consortium: Evolution in AcTION, is implementing applied evolutionary research in undergraduate biology education. Members of the working group include the BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium, scientific specialists, and science education researchers. Evolutionary research is engaged with many contemporary human problems in ways that are seldom included in the current undergraduate biology education. Examples include: the develoment of vaccines for newly emerging infectious diseases (SARS, AIDS, Asian Bird Flu, etc.); design of pharmaceuticals; clinical use of chemotherapy to determine whether treatment will be efficacious or nontoxic for a specific patient; development of resistance to extensively used biocides (antibiotics, pesticides, herbicides); prevention of destruction to our environment by invasive species; use of index fossils to identify energy reserves; simulation of locomotion of diverse species to understand human biomechanics and construct better prostheses; improvement in the yield and quality of crops and livestock; sustainable management of national parks, forest, prairie, and coral reef preserves, and international heritage sites; and, preservation of endangered species and biodiversity, in general.

Databases of primary research data on each of these issues will be constructed in a fashion that engages students in formulating and testing evolutionary hypotheses by importing the data into statistical packages, spreadsheets, phylogenetic software, and modeling programs. Explicit synthesis of various approaches to evolution at the molecular, organismal, and ecosystem levels and through heterogeneous perspectives of population and quantitative genetics, evolutionary ecology, bioinformatics, and phylogenetic systematics will be emphasized.

This group met for the first time December 12 - 13, 2006.


Sam Donovan – University of Pittburgh, PA

Joe Fail - NESCent

Kirsten Fisher - NESCent

Ganesh Ganapathy - NESCent

Greg Gibson - NESCent

Dave Hillis - University of Texas, TX

Kristin Jenkins - NESCent

John Jungck - Beloit College, WI

Stacy Kiser – Lane Community College, OR

Cindy Passmore – UC Davis, old acquaintance of Sam’s

Samantha Price - NESCent

Judy Scotchmoor – University of California Museum of Paleontology, CA

Katja Schultz – Tree of Life, AZ

Marta Wayne – University of Florida, Gainesville, FL

Jory Weintraub - NESCent