The origins of MicrobialEvolution.org

It is easy to find an evolution textbook and most of us who teach evolution have taken at least one -or many- evolution classes. The same is true for microbiology. But microbial evolution, this is a different story…

Microbial Evolution is a burgeoning field with a dearth of resources for teaching. Chris created a lecture/discussion style class (inventively entitled ‘Microbial Evolution’) from scratch. [Statements from Vaughn and Ben here]. From discussions with others we were far from alone. Everyone we’ve spoken to has been reinventing the wheel in a vacuum.

In an effort to help catalyze a community that values teaching we have decided to try to create a web site in which ideas and information can be shared and questions can be asked. Finally making good on this particular outreach activity proposed as part of his NSF CAREER Award Chris Marx bought the domain name MicrobialEvolution.org and threw together some information before the 2011 Gordon Research Conference in Microbial Population Biology. In soliciting feedback there he discovered that both Ben Kerr and Vaughn Cooper also proposed to make a website in their NSF CAREER Awards (DEB-0845893 to CJM). We quickly agreed that three contributors to one solution made the most sense and have since directed all of efforts to this single site.

As with our experiments, it will also evolve. Variation will be provided by our own ideas, as well as from the community. Selection will hopefully take place from feedback from our ‘customers’: you. Inheritance is our job; we’ll do our best to keep this site running and moving forward as best as we can.

So please look around at the resources that your colleagues have shared. If you have questions, please ask them on our forum. If you are curious about our own teaching/educational experiences, check out our blog. And most of all, if you have something to share in terms of educational material or feedback we’d love to see it.

Thanks so much,

Chris Marx (Harvard University),



Ben Kerr (University of Washington)



Vaughn Cooper (University of New Hampshire)



This material is based upon work supported  by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number DEB-0845893