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Natural Selection Lab- PhET Simulation

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by

Aisha Warsame

on 8 June 2014

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Transcript of Natural Selection Lab- PhET Simulation

Background Info.
From reading the Hawaiian finch article, I learned many new facts about adaptations and the application of natural selection in a species of birds. The Hawaiian finches developed many characteristics that helped them survive in their environment. Some of these characteristics were: a long, sickle-shaped beak for sipping nectar, or an elaborate two-part beak, or a thick, strong, beak. These adaptations hurt the finches more than it did help the, because some of the birds lost their ability to deal with mammalian predators and diseases. Also, the animals found the Hawaiian finches as an easy target prey. Other species from North America, Asia, and the south Pacific, other kinds of birds came, “carried on the winds of other storms”; resulted in the interbreeding of the finches. In addition, many of the new plants introduced to the environment and hoofed animals reduced the birds’ habitat, and many new birds and insects competed with them for food.

Hypotheses:
1.) If fur color changes to brown then there will be a larger brown population, because they are camouflaged.
3.) I hypothesize that the brown long-tail (dominant) bunnies will be less likely to survive under a surplus of wolves within the arctic environment because they will be easily spotted and with their long tails they will even easier to catch.
Data Tables:
Discussion:
During the simulation, my lab partner and I found that that each phenotype has an advantage and an disadvantage, depending on the environment, selective factors, and population reproduction rate. This can lead to the decrease or increase of the population of the animal. We were also able to conclude that the phenotypes of the bunnies in the whole population could change after many generations. When the mutation of the brown fur came into each of our experiments, regardless of whether if it was dominant or recessive had either kept on continuing or went extinct in the next generations. Secondly, various organisms can survive longer than others because they are better suited for certain conditions of an environment. A species can dominate because there is a lack of predators, so it is easy for the species to keep on reproducing without potential threats to their lives. Thirdly, some populations went extinct because they could not compete as well as the others and were forced to change their food source and reproduction or make adaptations to develop their fitness. However, if neither of the adaptations were possible then the population was likely to go extinct. The different factors that caused populations to go extinct were diseases, newly introduced competitors/predators, and failed adaptations. Diseases affected some populations because it caused the species to create resistance and alter itself to combat against these viruses. In addition, newly introduced competitors and predators can affect a population in several ways. The competitors can often overpower the original organisms and take over their food and homes if they are similar species. The predators can decrease the original population because they are hunted down as food. Lastly, failed adaptations are also another factor that can cause a population to go extinct because they can have different effects in different environments. Adaptations for one species can be beneficial to one species and harmful to another.

2.) I hypothesize that the brown fur bunnies will be less likely to survive under a surplus of wolves within the arctic environment because they are easily seen in and hunted down in a white background with their brown fur.
Analysis:
Natural Selection Lab- PhET Simulation

By- Aisha Warsame
From the data, my first hypothesis did not supported by my data because there was a small brown population due to it being a recessive trait and white fur color being the dominant trait. If the brown fur color was a dominant mutation then it would have been likely for a larger brown generation to be shown. For my second hypothesis the data did support it because the brown fur bunnies had a small population number due to there being a selective factor that killed them off easily in an arctic environment. For my third hypothesis the data was true until the tenth generation when there was an abrupt increase of the brown long-tail bunnies. The brown long-tail bunnies had the second largest percent, 30%. The data showed the number of generations and number of bunnies in each generation (population) and how natural selection, and selective factors play a major role in a species survival rate. Moreover, possible sources of errors that could have influenced the data were when we added in a mutation, what selective factors we chose, and even the times that we paused; these are all possible sources of error that could have disturbed the experiments. Secondly, the times when we added in the mutations were sometimes late because we added them after the third generation and the times we paused weren’t exactly on the “fourth generation” but rather half way between it. Concludingly, the simulation demonstrates natural selection because the bunnies that weren’t affected by the selective factors reproduced and survived for sometime. This simulation showed the laws of natural selection such as all living things have fertility that their population size could increase rapidly forever. This showed no two individuals are alike so each individual has different chances of survival hence the survival rate and variation is inherited the parents pass their genes to their offspring. Furthermore,the simulation could have been improved if we would have been more precise in the timing and calculations of the different bunnies. If there is a next time that we conduct this simulation, I would make sure to have a better method of recording data.

Conclusion
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