Advanced Higher Biology twilight session

Glasgow University, in partnership with SQA, ran an Advanced Higher Biology twilight session in May 2019 to support the delivery of ‘selection’ from the topic of Organisms and Evolution. The materials used at that event are free to be used in the teaching of the course and can be accessed here.


Studying Life Sciences – Chris Finlay, Senior Lecturer and Deputy Chief Advisor, School of Life Sciences , University of Glasgow

Session 1 Studying Life Sciences – Chris Finlay (922 KB)



Natural Selection of Infectious Diseases – Claire Donald, Postdoctoral Research Scientist, Centre for Viral Research, University of Glasgow

Session 2  Natural Selection of Infectious Diseases – Claire Donald  (3.73 MB)

Diseases spread by mosquitoes are a major issue in many parts of the world. They can have a huge medical, veterinary and economic impact in areas where mosquito life cycles are supported. Unfortunately, due to the rise in global temperatures, deforestation and increased travel and trade, mosquitoes are able to find new areas to live in and are bringing these diseases with them.

This presentation focuses on the viruses spread by mosquitoes, and Zika virus in particular. Zika virus was a relatively obscure virus that was initially discovered in Uganda in 1947 but rose to prominence in 2016 after a significant outbreak in the Americas. What led to this emergence has been a key question for scientists ever since and has resulted in many asking which virus outbreak will strike next?   



Sexual selection in Soay Sheep – Darren Monckton, Professor of Human Genetics, University of Glasgow

Session 3 Sexual selection in Soay Sheep  (9.48 MB)

Presentation of data that supports a sexually selected heterozygous advantage as maintaining diversity in horn size in Soay sheep.


Selection: 4 Short Stories Hardy-Weinberg Equilibrium Kevin O'Dell

Session 4 - 4 Short Stories Hardy-Weinberg Equilibrium Kevin O'Dell  (6.03 MB)

I covered four brief stories that could be used in class to enthuse the students about selection. They were:

I also briefly discussed some of the difficulties we find in teaching Hardy-Weinberg Equilibrium, an how we generally teach the topic by giving the students datasets to work through.



Tasmanian devils

Natural Selection in Birds – Stewart White, Senior Lecturer in the School of Life Sciences, University of Glasgow.

Session 5 Natural Selection in Birds – Stewart White (1.91 MB)

I consider one of the “Classic” examples of Evolution by Natural Selection, that of Darwin’s finches. This is the textbook example of evolution by natural selection and still widely used in biology textbooks. 

There is still research being conducted on the finches in Galapagos, much of which has yet to reach the textbooks. I then cover some lesser-known examples of selection that I think make evolution sound even more impressive. I will finish by coming right up to date with examples from recently published research that I think students in Scotland might find more relevant/interesting than textbook examples from long ago and/or far away.