MACROEVOLUTION: Evolution above the Species Level

Click here for the web based version of the Macroevolution CD

How do new species and higher taxa originate? How do major innovations, such as sexual reproduction, flowers, and insect, bird, and bat wings evolve? Basic mechanisms of microevolution (evolutionary change below the species level, among populations and within species) can produce macroevolutionary change (the evolution of novel traits, of species, and of lineages) if given enough time. Macroevolutionary studies explore the evolutionary forces and events that generate the characteristic features of new taxa, the radiations of lineages and their extinctions, and the evolutionary patterns produced by physical processes (e.g., continental drift) on living and extinct organisms.  Presentations in this symposium provided current information about macroevolutionary processes, the distinctions between and the interactions of micro- and macroevolution, the development and evolution of "key innovations" and major lineages of organisms, and the evidence for these processes.  Click here to see the schedule and presentation descriptions.


Philip Gingerich - The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Fossils and the Origin of Whales

Scott Hodges - University of California, Santa Barbara, CA
The Generation of Plant Biodiversity: Linking Historical Patterns with Evolutionary Processes

David Jablonski - University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Evolutionary Role of Extinctions and Recoveries in the History of Life

Nicole King - University of California, Berkeley, CA
From Protozoa to Metazoa: the Origin of Animal Multicellularity

Jeff Levinton - State University of New York at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, NY
The Cambrian Explosion and the Nature of Evidence.

Nipam Patel - University of California, Berkeley, CA

The Developmental Basis of Animal Diversity


2006 Macroevolution CD

This collection of educational resources will support teaching the materials covered in the symposium.  It includes video clips, more information about the speakers, and classroom materials specific to each presentation as well as to the general topic of macroevolution.

A Pharyngula blog entry by P.Z. Meyers on a 2008 paper from Nicole King:

King N, Westbrook MJ, Young SL, Kuo A, Abedin M, Chapman J, Fairclough S, Hellsten U, Isogai Y, Letunic I, Marr M, Pincus D, Putnam N, Rokas A, Wright KJ, Zuzow R, Dirks W, Good M, Goodstein D, Lemons D, Li W, Lyons JB, Morris A, Nichols S, Richter DJ, Salamov A, Sequencing JG, Bork P, Lim WA, Manning G, Miller WT, McGinnis W, Shapiro H, Tjian R, Grigoriev IV, Rokhsar D. (2008) The genome of the choanoflagellate Monosiga brevicollis and the origin of metazoans. Nature 451(7180):783-788.

Levinton, J.S. 2008. The Cambrian Explosion: How Do We Use the Evidence? Bioscience Vol 58(9):855-864 doi: 10.1641/B580912

A species' unwelcome inheritance: extinction risk

A podcast interview with David Jablonski, as part of an Evolution in the News story from Understanding Evolution and NESCent.