The Blue Mussel: A Not-So-Typical Mollusc

Through a sequence of engaging laboratory investigations coupled to vivid segments from the acclaimed Shape of Life video series, students explore the fascinating structural and behavioral adaptations of modern molluscs.  But rather than study these animals merely as interesting in the here-and-now, students learn to view them as products of a 550 million year natural history.  Students interpret their diverse adaptations as ancient solutions to the challenges of life in a dangerous world, while using Phylum Mollusca as the occasion to discern three major macroevolutionary patterns: divergent evolution, convergent evolution, and coevolution.

We provide both high school and middle school versions of this lesson. The instructor's guide applies to both versions.

This lesson was created by Kevin Goff, Virginia Institute of Marine Science educator.