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Patricia J. Moore
Department of Entomology
University of Georgia
Giant Pandas, Hormones, and the Evolution of a Lazy Bear 

This clicker case study looks at the role of hormone cascades in homeostatic control of metabolism in a charismatic organism, the Giant Panda.  The case explores how Giant Pandas have adapted to a nutritionally poor food resource, bamboo, through changes in metabolism, particularly the thyroid hormones.  The case was written for a flipped teaching approach whereby students prepare for class by viewing several brief videos created by the author. Then in class students view a PowerPoint presentation designed to guide them through the hypotheses, predictions, and results of a paper published in Science in July 2015 that examines the exceptionally low energy expenditure in the giant panda.  The intended learning outcomes for this case revolve around both the cell biology of how hormones work and also around how physiology and evolution integrate to allow organisms to adapt to specialized niches.  The case was written for a college level introductory biology course, but could also be used in an AP biology course or non-majors biology course.