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Natural Selection Lab
Transcript of Natural Selection Lab
We will simulate natural selection in a predator-prey system. Each student will be assigned a "feeding structure":
a spoon, fork, knife, or chopsticks. What will we do? Tomorrow when you come in, beans and other 'food' will be spread out in the classroom which represents the habitat that all you predators live in. You all will be given 45 seconds for every trial.
This time represents a generation. You will have to capture as much food as possible with your assigned feeding structure (spoon, chopsticks etc). After each 45 second feeding session, count the number of food you captured and record it in your data table. There will be four to five feeding sessions. Procedures Students will play the role of predators and see who is better adapted to their environment. Data collection Make sure you answer the pre-lab questions before we do the lab tomorrow that's why it's called a PRE lab!.. 1. Define predator, prey adaptation and natural selection in your own words. 2. Which predator will have the best chance of surviving and why? 3. Make a prediction by ranking the predators according to which will survive the longest. (1=best, 4=worst) ex: 1-spoons, 2-chopsticks etc. Begin hunting when I give you instructions to "Start Hunting" STOP when I tell you to stop. Use your feeding apparatus (spoon etc) to pick up many of the prey (beans) as you can and place them in your "mouth" - the cup. No scraping or pushing of the prey into the mouth is allowed. You must hold the bottom of the cup flat against the table. Remember to count and record the number of each type of prey you captured.
We will total the number of prey for every feeding structure.
This will allow us to see which predators were most successful. After Generation 0, an environmental change will occur (such as a drought) reducing the prey types to one single type. What else? NATURAL SELECTION
Predator types which capture less prey than others are not successful hunters and natural selection might remove them from the population. After two generations, the least successful predator type will be considered extinct. Those who are extinct will be given new feeding structures and will join the more successful predator population, representing offspring. After each generation and the restructuring of the predator populations, predators will again be allowed to hunt for 45 seconds and the procedures will be repeated. This will be done for five generations total. FILL OUT YOUR DATA TABLE AS WE GO ALONG Natural selection is an important process underlying the theory of evolution as proposed by Charles Darwin. It is sometimes called, “Survival of the fittest”, which is fairly easy to comprehend. Individuals whose characteristics are well suited to their constantly changing environment survive and reproduce. Individuals whose characteristics are not well suited to their constantly changing environment either die or leave fewer offspring. This lab will help you appreciate the effects of natural selection within a population over time.