Evolution Lab

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The Evolution of Island Finches by Natural Selection

The Evolution of Island Finches by Natural Selection
The Evolution Lab experiment of finches located on two separate islands was conducted with purposes of evaluation and study of important principles of evaluation that include adaptation, natural selection process and finally the evolution process as a whole. In this study, "Darwin Island" and "Wallace Island" are lab environments that were used to conduct the experiment. By manipulating vital parameters that influence adaptation, natural selection and then following how the changes influence the evolution of beak size and population numbers for the two different populations of finches over selected time intervals, the evolution process was evaluated and studied. This experiment demonstrates essential biological and environmental selection factors that influence evolution by natural selection; moreover, this lab allows simulation of how changes in beak size and other characteristics of finch populations influence evolution of beak size and population numbers.

Natural selection is a process in which organisms with certain inherited traits are more likely to survive and reproduce than are individuals with other traits. As a result of natural selection, a population—a group of individuals of the same species living in the same place at the same time—can change over generations. Natural selection leads to evolutionary adaptation, a population’s increase in the frequency of traits suited to the environment (Simon, Reece, Dickey, 2010).

Hypothesis:
• If the size of the island changes, the population of finches will increase in 100 years time period • If the precipitation on the island changes, the beak size will change in 100 years time period • If the precipitation on the island changes, the population size will change in 100 years time period

Materials
This lab experiment was performed in a controlled environment utilizing computer model for two separate islands with finch population and adjustable finch characteristics. Personal computer and internet access were utilized to complete the experiment.

Methods
Started the evolution lab application with default values for finch characteristics entered for “Darwin” and “Wallace” islands. For observation of evolution patterns of finch populations, on both islands, selected 100 years time frame and executed the experiment. Reset the evaluation lab application to conduct the new experiment. Adjusted Darwin island size from 0.5 to 0.7 adjusted Wallace island precipitation values from 20cm to 28cm and conducted the experiment.

Data

Darwin Wallace

Experiment #1: Average Beak Size
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Experiment #1: Population Size

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Input Parameters for Experiment #1
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Parameter DARWIN WALLACE
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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: 20.0 cm 20.0 cm
Population: 200.0 birds 200.0 birds
Island Size: 0.5 km 0.5 km

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Experimental Results
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DarwinWallace

Year Beak Pop | Beak Pop
-------------------------+-------------------
1997 12.08 200 | 12.01 200
1998 12.08 221 | 12.03 240
1999 12.13 234 | 12.03 266
2000 12.05 237 | 12.04 283
2001 11.85 210 | 12.09 292
2002 11.74 208 | 12.16 305
2003 11.84 245 | 12.4 312
2004 12.02 237 | 12.52 315
2005 12.15 254 | 12.42 287
2006 12.13 282 | 12.42 242
2007 12.09 296 | 12.31 304
2008 12.23...
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