Introductory Biology (Eco/Evo)

Demo video available video icon
Lab (Tutorial): Understanding Experimental Design
This innovative lab was developed as part of an NSF cyberlearning grant to SimBio. It uses an engaging simulated disease system and instant personalized feedback to help students overcome confusions and provide reinforcement on how to design experiments and to summarize and interpret results. Concepts covered include systematic variation, control treatments, replication, and scope of inference.
Level: Intro
Key Concepts: control treatments | data interpretation | experiments | hypothesis-testing | replication | scope of inference
Courses: Aquatic Ecology | Ecology | Intro Bio: Eco/Evo/Genetics | Intro Bio: Majors | Intro Bio: Non-majors
Lab (Tutorial): Darwinian Snails
This tutorial-style lab investigates the requirements for evolution by natural selection using an engaging simulation of crab predation on snails. Students are able to manipulate the snail population to sequentially "turn off" variation, heritability, and differential survival based on shell thickness to investigate the importance of each of these factors. The module can be packaged with an optional open-ended extension activity called Experimenting with Snails (see separate description).
Level: Intro
Key Concepts: Experimental Design | Genetic Variation | Heritability | Natural Selection
Courses: Evolution | Intro Bio: Eco/Evo/Genetics | Intro Bio: Non-majors | Marine Biology
Lab (Workbook): Darwinian Snails Demo video available
This lab and accompanying workbook lead students through simulated experiments investigate the assumptions behind natural selection using an experimental system involving green crabs preying on periwinkle snail. Students are able to "violate" each assumption in turn to explore whether evolution by natural selection still occurs. Exercises target common misconceptions among biology students. The updated "tutorial-style" version of this lab provides students with feedback as they go, as well as other new features.
View sample screen
Level: Intro
Key Concepts: Experimental Design | Genetic Variation | Heritability | Natural Selection
Courses: Evolution | Intro Bio: Eco/Evo/Genetics | Intro Bio: Non-majors | Marine Biology
Reviews:
"[I like] the way [the Snail lab] walks the students through the requirement for natural selection one by one, and shows what happens if each of the requirements isn't met. I also like that it has students working with real data."
Dr. Jennie Hoffman, Everett Community College
"[In the snail lab, I liked] the active student participation. Students were very involved and excited about 'being a crab' and actually eating the snails. Students reinforced their ability to graph data and made use of critical thinking skills; reinforcement of the fact that it is populations, not individuals, that evolve and the factors that effect evolution of populations; the knowledge that they could study an evolutionary process in real time. "
Dr. Laura Pannaman, New Jersey City University
"We completed running 20 Biology sections of Darwnian Snails last week. The laboratory sessions went very well. Most instructors opted to take students to our computer lab and offer help while the students worked at the computer. Some instructors gave students the option of completing the exercise at home. Very minimal problems were reported with the software. ...All in all I saw lots of smiling faculty and heard the comment more than once that this lab really drives home basic principles of evolution."
Dr. Joel Watkins, Schoolcraft College, Introductory Biology Course
Chapter: Population Growth
Explores geometric, exponential and logistic growth, density-dependent vs. independent controls, and more advanced topics in population growth. Simulated agricultural systems form the basis for problem-solving throughout the chapter.
Table of Contents
Look Inside image #2 image #3 image #4 image #5 image #6 image #7 image #8 image #9 image #10 image #11
Level: Intro, Sophomore/Junior
Key Concepts: Density Dependence vs. Independence | Doubling Time | Exponential Growth | Geometric Growth | Logistic Growth
Courses: Ecology | Environmental Science | Intro Bio: Eco/Evo/Genetics
Chapter: Evolution for Ecology
Introduces evolution, natural selection, and selection and drift in quantitative traits, developed specifically for use in ecology classes. Uses examples with both basic and applied ecology interest, including sticklebacks and pest resistance to Bt cotton.
Table of Contents
Look Inside image #2 image #3 image #4 image #5 image #6 image #7 image #8 image #9 image #10 image #11 image #12 image #13
Level: Intro, Sophomore/Junior
Key Concepts: Evolution | Natural Selection | population genetics
Courses: Ecology | Intro Bio: Eco/Evo/Genetics
Lab (Tutorial): Keystone Predator - New in 2017!
Like the popular workbook-style version of Keystone Predator, the fun experiments in this updated tutorial-style lab lead to powerful "Eureka!" moments for students about the importance of interactions and connections among species in ecological communities. The addition of onscreen instructions, instant-feedback, and some new tools and self-assessments make this lab even more engaging. This is a great introductory lab in that it explores basic ecological concepts and asks students to think critically, synthesizing experimental data to make predictions. Instructors teaching more advanced courses and/or looking for more open-ended challenges will appreciate the new optional "playground" at the end that lets students tinker with the underlying model.
Level: Intro, Sophomore/Junior
Key Concepts: Competition | Direct and Indirect Effects | Ecological Communities | Food Webs | Invasive Species | Keystone Species
Courses: Applied Ecology | Aquatic Ecology | Community Ecology | Conservation Biology | Ecology | Ecosystems | Environmental Science | Intro Bio: Eco/Evo/Genetics | Intro Bio: Majors | Intro Bio: Non-majors | Marine Biology
Lab (Workbook): Keystone Predator Demo video available
This laboratory recreates the famous experiments of Paine and colleagues in the Pacific Northwest with the sea star Pisaster (and 8 other marine intertidal species). Students do transplant experiments to figure out competitive relationships and sample gut contents to construct a food web. Next they use their data to predict what will happen when each predator is removed from the system. Finally, they do the removal experiments and compare their results with their predictions. This is a great introductory lab in that it explores basic ecological concepts and although it is not difficult, it asks students to think critically, synthesizing experimental data to make predictions. It also provides a nice foundation for discussions of the important roles that different species can play in a community.
View sample screen
Level: Intro
Key Concepts: Competition | Ecological Communities | Food Webs | Keystone Species
Courses: Community Ecology | Conservation Biology | Ecology | Intro Bio: Eco/Evo/Genetics | Intro Bio: Non-majors | Marine Biology
Reviews:
"I had great success using your EcoBeaker™ labs, Keystone Predator and Sickle-Cell Alleles, in my BIO102 General Biology II class (4 lab sections, 96 students) this spring semester. "
Dr. Daniel Vogt, Plattsburgh State University, General Biology
"They absolutely loved [Keystone Predator]. … [it] allowed them to quickly appreciate how the biology of the organisms played a role, that the species differed in colonizing abilities, and the concept of a species with an effect disproportionate to its abundance. I was amazed how quickly and effortlessly the simulation taught them a dynamic system. We all agreed that the graphics really work. One of the best features is the integrated abundance values so that you can freeze the action at any point and track individual species as opposed to general trends. "
Paula Philbrick, University of Connecticut
Lab (Tutorial): Isle Royale
This very popular lab has been revised to include onscreen instructions, feedback for students, and a new graphing exercise. The lab explores important population biology concepts, including exponential and logistic growth and carrying capacity, using the classic predator-prey system of moose and wolves on an island in Lake Superior. An unexpected twist at the end creates a great topic for discussion.
Level: Intro
Key Concepts: undefined
Courses: Applied Ecology | Community Ecology | Conservation Biology | Ecology | Ecosystems | Environmental Science | Intro Bio: Eco/Evo/Genetics | Intro Bio: Majors | Intro Bio: Non-majors | Population Biology
Lab (Workbook): Isle Royale Demo video available
This popular laboratory explores basic population biology concepts including exponential and logistic growth and carrying capacity. It is based on the textbook example of a predator-prey system involving wolves and moose on an island in Lake Superior. Students start out by characterizing the growth of a colonizing population of moose in the absence of predators. Next they introduce wolves, and study the resulting predator-prey cycles. Do predators increase or decrease the health of their prey populations? Students investigate this question by sampling the energy stores of moose with and without wolves present. Finally, they try changing the plant growth rate to see how primary productivity influences population dynamics.
View Sample Screen
Level: Intro
Key Concepts: Carrying Capacity | Population growth | Predator-prey Dynamics
Courses: Ecology | Intro Bio: Eco/Evo/Genetics | Intro Bio: Non-majors | Population Biology
Reviews:
"We plan to continue to use EcoBeaker software in our Biology 101 labs next year. Student and TA feedback was very positive on both these labs [Isle Royale and Nutrient Pollution]."
Bruce Fall, University of Minnesota, 1,000 Student Introductory Biology Course
"Our experience with [the Isle Royale and Darwinian Snails labs] last Spring in our majors introductory course was excellent."
Dr. Lawrence Blumer, Morehouse College
"Our intro ecology course did the new Isle Royale lab this week and all of the instructors agreed that the new version is GREAT - so thanks for the great educational tool!!!! We all love how you worked global climate change into the new version and we also love the t-test at the end."
Billy Flint, James Madison University
Lab (Tutorial): Understanding Population Growth Models
Students experiment with simulations of engaging creatures whose populations are undergoing exponential and logistic growth. Through guided exploration, students discover what is meant by N, r, K, and dN/dt in population growth models, and apply the models to make predictions. This module was developed as a pre-lab for Isle Royale or a supplement for courses that cover intro-level population biology.
Level: Intro
Key Concepts: Carrying Capacity | Exponential Growth | Logistic Growth | population growth models | Populations
Courses: Applied Ecology | Community Ecology | Conservation Biology | Ecology | Ecosystems | Environmental Science | Intro Bio: Eco/Evo/Genetics | Intro Bio: Majors | Intro Bio: Non-majors
Lab (Tutorial): Sickle-Cell Alleles
This engaging lab, recently updated to include onscreen instructions and instant-feedback, simulates malaria and sickle-cell disease in African villages to investigate how both natural selection and genetic drift influence allele and genotype frequencies over time, given different scenarios. Students also learn how to apply the Hardy-Weinberg equation as a null model to make predictions. An optional open-ended section allows independent exploration of evolutionary forces using a basic population genetics model with adjustable parameters for selection strength, immigration rate, and population size. In addition, this section provides a scenario that lets students practice Hardy-Weinberg calculations to make sure they understand how to set up their equations.
Level: Intro, Sophomore/Junior
Key Concepts: Genetic Drift | Hardy-Weinberg Equation | Natural Selection
Courses: Evolution | Genetics | Hardy-Weinberg | Intro Bio: Cell/Molecular | Intro Bio: Eco/Evo/Genetics | Intro Bio: Majors | Intro Bio: Molecular | Intro Bio: Non-majors | Microevolution | Population Genetics
Lab (Workbook): Sickle-Cell Alleles Demo video available
An interactive simulation of the classic malaria and sickle-cell anemia system is used to explore natural selection and genetic drift. Students examine African villages with different malaria death rates. First they use the Hardy-Weinberg equation to calculate the expected proportion of sickle-cell carriers from HbS and HbA allele frequencies. Then they examine how the allele frequencies change with changes in malaria risk and with different "founder" scenarios. Finally they explore genetic drift without selection by looking at different-sized villages where both diseases have been cured. An optional advanced section allows independent exploration of evolutionary forces using a basic population genetics model with adjustable parameters for selection strength, immigration rate, and population size. This is one of our most popular labs for introductory biology courses.
View sample screen
Level: Intro
Key Concepts: Genetic Drift | Hardy-Weinberg Equation | Natural Selection
Courses: Evolution | Hardy-Weinberg | Intro Bio: Eco/Evo/Genetics | Intro Bio: Non-majors | Population Genetics
Reviews:
"We used the Sickle-Cell EcoBeaker™ lab with all 1100 freshman enrolled in our majors biology course in the fall of 2003. The results truly impressed me — I felt like the students had a much stronger grasp of Hardy-Weinberg theory as a result of this interactive exercise and exam scores went up as well. "
Dr. Linda Walters, Central Florida University, Majors Introductory Biology
"I had great success using your EcoBeaker™ labs, Keystone Predator and Sickle-Cell Alleles, in my BIO102 General Biology II class (4 lab sections, 96 students) this spring semester. "
Dr. Daniel Vogt, Plattsburgh State University, General Biology
"This is just a quick email to let you know that the Sickle-cell lab went very well last week!! The TAs thought it went very well and the feedback from number of students I spoke to was also very positive. ...I was very pleased to be able to introduce this topic into a compulsory course here at the Technion in a Faculty that has major emphasis on molecular biology and less on populations, ecology and evolution."
Dr. Debbie Lindell, Technion, Israel
Lab (Workbook): Evolutionary Evidence Demo video available
A powerful lab for introducing students to the evidence that convinces biologists that life on earth evolved. It covers a key piece of evidence for evolutionary theory, focusing on how related species should have nested sets of traits that reflect their evolutionary tree. Students compare traits of evolved species versus traits of independently created species and learn how to quantify the difference. They then use this quantification to predict the order that traits should appear in the fossil record among different species of simulated lizards. Finally, they apply their methods to the real fossil record for a set of 7 extant species.
View sample screen
Level: Intro
Key Concepts: Common Ancestor | Evidence | Evolution | Fossils | Nested Sets | phylogenetics | theory
Courses: Evolution | Intro Bio: Eco/Evo/Genetics | Intro Bio: Non-majors
Lab (Workbook): Flowers and Trees
Introduces students to evolutionary trees using an interactive simulation of Columbine flower diversification. Students observe Columbine populations split and diverge while an expanding evolutionary tree illustrates each population's history. Students further learn to interpret evolutionary trees by creating their own and reconstructing the history of mystery populations. Suitable for both introductory and advanced biology and evolution courses.
View sample screen
Level: Intro or Advanced
Key Concepts: Evolutionary Trees | Neutral Evolution | Phylogenetic Reconstruction | Tree-thinking
Courses: Evolution | Intro Bio: Eco/Evo/Genetics | Intro Bio: Non-majors | Macroevolution
Reviews:
"I did tell you that I like EvoBeaker very much.  The programs compliment each other really well and I'd love to work with several of them that highlight common ancestor, but I am limited in the time I have. I am going to try to fit in two of them, near the end of the semester.  I think 'Flowers and Trees' with its phylogenetic trees and either Dogs or HIV, to get the sequence comparisons. "
Dr. Robert Hodson, University of Delaware, 600 Student Introductory Biology Class
"I was very impressed with the lab exercises when I ran through them last night — they are not only fun, but move seamlessly through the logic of building cladograms. I will definitely incorporate the lab into my future classes. "
Dr. Robin Andrews, Virginia Tech University
"I just wanted to let you know that we've completed our first lab of the three as of yesterday [Flowers and Trees]. The students thought it was "easy" and yet, were challenged as they continued to work through the exercises. It was not only promising, but reinvigorating for the Teaching Assistants who had taught it prior to this semester. Thank you!! We're looking forward to completing the next one soon."
Dr. Faye Farmer, Arizona State University, Introductory Biology Course
Lab (Workbook): Niche Wars (formerly Niches and Competition)
This fun and engaging laboratory, affectionately referred to as "the bunny lab", explores ecological niches and the competitive exclusion principle. Can four identical species of rabbits coexist in a yard with a limited amount of the only source of food (lettuce)? What would happen if a rabbit with a broader diet (e.g., lettuce and carrots) were to invade the yard? How could that rabbit's niche be modified to allow coexistence? Students address these questions by manipulating procedures and parameters in the model. The first part of the lab takes students step-by-step through manipulations and is great for introductory-level courses and as a general introduction to EcoBeaker models. The last (optional) part of the lab challenges students to figure out ways to modify the model to achieve coexistence with only one type of food being added to the yard. This part is open-ended and can be integrated with more advanced topics such as Lotka-Volterra models.
View sample screen
Level: Intro
Key Concepts: Competitive Exclusion | Niche | Scientific Modling
Courses: Community Ecology | Ecology | Intro Bio: Eco/Evo/Genetics | Intro Bio: Non-majors

Contact

Shipping and Billing

1280 S Third St W
Missoula, MT 59801

Phone

617 314.7701

Fax

617 279.0055