Natural Selection Lab

Topics: Color, Orders of magnitude, Hunting Pages: 3 (735 words) Published: November 26, 2012
Natural Selection Lab
This hands-on laboratory exercise is a highly simplified model that attempts to simulate evolution by means of natural selection. Predators will act as agents of selection on their prey, a species whose members vary in color. We will assume that color is an inherited trait. Small squares of paper will represent the prey, which will be spread out of a piece of printed colored fabric that will serve as the habitat. The predators (you) will prey upon the population, with the surviving members reproducing and passing along the genes for color. Problem:

How does a population change as a result of natural selection? Materials:
* 5 different colors of paper cut into 1 cm × 1 cm squares (at least 100 squares of each color) * Multicolored fabric or newspaper, approximately 1 meter × 1 meter * 1 or 2 partners (friends or family)

* The prey will be represented by the small 1 cm × 1 cm squares of paper and the habitat is represented by the 1 meter × 1 meter piece of fabric. Hypothesize which color prey you think is most likely to be captured by the predator and which color prey is most likely to survive, and then record your hypothesis. Be sure that your hypothesis includes explanations for your predictions. * Have the two partners (prey) stand with their backs to the habitat while you scatter 20 squares of each color randomly on the fabric. Try to achieve a uniform distribution, and be sure to separate any that are clumped together. * Have the partner(s) randomly pick up the prey as fast as they can. Have them stop when they have collected a total of 75 prey, leaving the other 25 remaining in the habitat. * Count the number of survivors of each color. Each surviving prey has three offspring of the same color, bringing the total population back up to 100. Record the number of each color in the next generation in your data table. * Count out the correct number of each colored prey and scatter them on the fabric....
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