BioBlog

Crabs, carcinisation, and crappy headlines

Alison Campbell Nov 10, 2020

This is a post of two parts: the interesting tale of convergence involving crab-like creatures, and the very poor – nay, crappy (because I like the alliteration) – headline on a popular article about it. Part 1: the history of carcinization in crustaceans, described in this 2017 paper in the Biological Journal of the Linnean Society (Keiler, Wirkner, & … Read More

COVID myths & politics

Alison Campbell Aug 11, 2020

This year’s election campaign in New Zealand has attracted a number of “fringe” parties, at least some of whose supporters seem to have a fairly tenuous hold on reality and a highly flexible approach to the truth. I mean, how else could one describe some of those affiliated with the NZPP/Advance coalition, whose members & supporters regularly share myths about … Read More

Honeycreepers in hawaii

Alison Campbell May 25, 2020

The 2015 Schol Bio paper included a question about a group of birds known as honeycreepers, specifically, the 56 species endemic to the Hawaiian islands. (Or, were endemic: 18, or perhaps 19, are still living; the others are extinct.) Students who’ve already had a look at this paper as part of their preparation for the exam will know that it included … Read More

Thoughts on the proposed changes to NCEA

Alison Campbell Feb 28, 2020

Many readers will probably have read this RNZ article (or heard the related interview), or seen calls for consultation on the Ministry of Education’s suggested changes to the number of subjects – and achievement standards – on offer to year 11 students. I’ve been following (& participating, where I can) all this with colleagues and friends, and … Read More

Why do students need to learn about the nature of science?

Alison Campbell Feb 25, 2020

You’re probably aware that the Achievement Standards used to assess senior school students’ learning are being reviewed. Science is one of the ‘pilot’ subjects in this process, where a ‘Subject Expert Group’ has developed 4 draft Science standards¹ (a significant step away from the current 30+, and a response to advice from several high-level advisory groups). These drafts … Read More