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Evolution Lab - Assignment Example

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Precipitation and its Effect of the Evolution of Finches in Relation to Beak Size Name 9 May 2011 Introduction and Purpose Since Darwin’s journey on the HMS Eagle, evolutionary biology has been a field of interest in which people have been studying…
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Evolution Lab
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Evolution Lab

Download file to see previous pages... One particular animal, which gained Darwin’s attention, was the finches on the island. It was through studying these finches that Darwin came up with one of the most important terms in evolutionary biology which is one of the driving forces for evolution: natural selection. Natural selection plays into the role that nature selects organisms, which are best fit for the environment. Those that have the traits that give them the best advantage in environmental conditions will survive and proliferate while those who have the inferior traits will not thrive and die out (Darwin, 2010). In this particular simulation, we were looking at what the effects of precipitation on two separate islands and how it would affect the size of the beak on a species of finches. We are able to make this hypothesis due to the fact that we know that the amount of precipitation will influence the different types of flora and seeds, which will grow on the island. This can affect size, hardness, and shape of the seeds and this will have a direct effect upon the size of the beak of the finch that inhabits the island. Our hypothesis was that of non-directionality, meaning that we did not know how precipitation was going to affect beak size in any particular direction, but we knew that the precipitation was going to have an effect on how flora grew on the island, thus this would have an effect on beak size. Materials Since this was an interactive simulation, very few materials were needed in order to complete this lab. A computer with an active Internet connection was necessary in order to use the online simulation software in order to collect the data, due to the fact that this observational data would be impossible to be collected over the thousands of years. Methods The first step of being able to run the experiment was to log onto the site in order to carry out the experiment at http://www.biologylabsonline.com/axia/EvolutionLab/. Next, depending on the experiment, the experimenter has the option to set the variables that they are interested in looking at. For the case of our hypothesis, we are looking at beak size in relation to precipitation. The independent variable is the initial size of the beaks. The experiment calls for modifying the precipitation on the islands in order to see if this has an effect on beak size. On one island, move the precipitation to the extreme of there is no precipitation and then on the other island, move the precipitation to the maximum amount of precipitation the island can have. Set the amount of time to look at over the course of three hundred years and run the experiment. Then look at and analyze the data to see if the data matches the proposed hypothesis. Data Parameter DARWIN WALLACE ------------------------------------------- Initial Beak Size: 12.0 mm 12.0 mm Heritability: 0.7 0.7 Variance: 1.0 1.0 Clutch Size: 10.0 eggs 10.0 eggs Precipitation: 35.0 cm 20.0 cm Population: 200.0 birds 200.0 birds Island Size: 0.5 km 0.5 km Darwin ------ Wallace ------- Discussion and Results As can be seen from the graph, we have an interaction effect at the start and then both populations diverge from each other as time progresses. On Darwin Island, where the precipitation was observed to be 100.0 cm, there was an increase in beak size as time increased. On Wallace Island, where the precipitation was observed to be 0.0 cm, there was a decrease in beak size as time increased. Based on this result, we can conclude that over the 300-year ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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