Our BivAToL outreach approach is based on evolution rather than on bivalves, to appeal to a wider audience and to address a recognized need in available resources. The premise is to provide accessible instruction on evolution (including diversity, systematics, and phylogeny) using bivalves – a group of organisms that is (a) morphologically “simple,” familiar, and engaging, (b) sufficiently diverse to provide varied examples of evolutionary processes, (c) easy to obtain, and (d) represented by an ample fossil record.

Outreach will be provided to three audiences:

  1. the general public, in the form of a traveling exhibit (“Evolution on the Half-Shell”) and associated teaching materials;
  2. K-12 teachers and their students, for whom we will create online professional development resources;
  3. post-secondary teachers and their students, for whom we will create a course curriculum; and
  4. for everyone, this website.

All outreach products will emphasize the use of specimens, data, and the interpretation of results, some of which will originate in the research results of the grant.