Mating, Reproduction, and Parenting

Problems/Case Studies

"Mom Always Liked You Best: Examining the Hypothesis of Parental Favoritism". Clyde F. Herreid, University at Buffalo. State University of New York at Buffalo’s National Center for Case Study Teaching
This case study is based on a journal article on the parenting behavior of American coots. Working through the case, students develop hypotheses and design experiments to test their hypotheses as they are given pieces of the case in an interrupted case format. A "prologue" to the case describes the interrupted case format in detail.
The subject matter of the case makes it suitable for courses in biology, especially those focusing on evolution and ecology, and the case can be used with both science majors and non-science majors.

CNN Video Clips

"Seahorse Pregnancy": Biology 7th Ed. CNN Ed 2003 (2:36)
In seahorses, offspring develop inside the male's body.  Seahorses are monogamous, and some species mate for life.  Daily courtship rituals reinforce the pair bond.  During mating, the female deposits eggs into the male's abdomen.  The eggs contain all the nutrition required to fuel development.  Once the young are born, there is no additional parental care. (Student worksheet provided on CD)

"Sexy Singers": Biology 7th Ed. CNN Ed 2003 (1:56)
Male sparrows are highly territorial.  Bruce Nowicki of Duke University describes how males compete by singing.  The females seem to respond purely to a male's song.  Nowicki plays video of a female sparrow who—in response to playback of a particularly appealing recorded song—lifts her tail as if to mate.  The males must learn their song from adults.  The worksheet includes the URL for the Nowicki Lab Web site. (Student worksheet provided on CD)

Hyperlink Examples

"Flying Casanovas" This website contains many interesting activities about bowerbirds and the depths that the males go to in order to attract a female. There is a short video, and a article on courtships. There is a game for students to play and a link about the art of the bowerbirds, because when the bowers where first discovered it was thought that they were built by pygmies. The website also contains teacher resources.

Internet Game

The Mating Game - Students will choose a mate for a particular species by reading the answers to 3 questions. The purpose is to show students that choosing a mate is the way to pass on genes and if the wrong mate is chosen those genes are not passed on. It also shows how similar some species are to one another.