Case Studies

Exaggerated Traits and Breeding Success in Widowbirds Sexual selection has led to the evolution of interesting traits and behaviors in many animal species. This case study investigates long-tailed widowbirds, a species where males undergo a dramatic change in plumage coloration and produce exceptionally long tail feathers during the breeding season.

Breeding Belyaev’s Pets This case study shows how the “Farm-Fox Experiment” not only demonstrates how a research team can thoroughly investigate an intriguing question, but also serves as a classic example of elegant experimental design.

How Many More Thymes? A Case of Phytochemical Defense This case is a survey of several different studies that investigated chemical defenses in Thymus vulgaris (thyme) to help students develop hypotheses, pose potential experiments, and interpret data to develop a better understanding of not only herbivore deterrence, but also how natural selection can involve different pressures selecting for different phenotypes.

Videos

Flipped Lab Videos This site was developed in collaboration with Josh Cooper to provide support for different introductory laboratory activities.

Plant Defenses Against Herbivory A short video to accompany How Many More Thymes? case study for a “flipped” case format.

Plant Anatomy This lab describes the basic cells and tissues of the herbaceous plant body.

Transpiration Description of a simple transpiration experiment.

Skull Mechanical Advantage Principles of mechanical advantage and how to measure them in a mammalian skull.

Tree Thinking An introduction to reading phylogenetic trees.

Establishing A Brine Shrimp Ecosystem How to set-up a microcosm with brine shrimp and algae for tropic cascade experiments.

Sordaria Crossing Over This video demonstrates how to investigate crossing-over using two Sordaria fungi.

Other Resources

Teaching Evolution With Dog Genomics There is a rich body of literature on research investigating evolution using dogs as a general example and studies specifically investigating canine evolution.

Seed Dispersal In Tropical Forests This activity accompanies the video Seed Dispersal and Habitat Fragmentation. Students use data from published studies to understand patterns of seed dispersal and apply these ideas to the design of a conservation area.

Using Case Studies With Large Classes Suggestions for use of case studies in large (150+ students) courses.

Interactive Case Study for The Search for a Mutated Gene This video case study explores the approaches scientists used to identify a mutation that causes retinitis pigmentosa (RP), a progressive disease that leads to blindness.

Interactive Case Study for The Effects of Fungicides on Bumble Bee Colonies This video case study explores whether fungicides play a role in the decline of bee populations. 

Interactive Case Study for Studying Elephant Communication This video case study explores whether elephants can detect, interpret, and respond to signals delivered by underground vibrations.

Terrestrial Trophic Cascades & Population Structure.  Botanical Society of America, QUBES Educational Resources. doi:10.25334/Q4Q11K

Morphological and Molecular Analysis of Plant Phylogeny and Diversity.  Botanical Society of America, QUBES Educational Resources. doi:10.25334/Q4ZH6G

Plants by the Numbers.  QUBES Educational Resources. doi:10.25334/Q4N12B

Regulation Across Scales: Data Points on How Life Works.  HHMI BioInteractive, QUBES Educational Resources. doi:10.25334/Q4T151

Transpiration.  Botanical Society of America, QUBES Educational Resources. doi:10.25334/Q4710V