Virtual Ecology Lab: Invasive Species Worksheet
Learning Goal: To learn how an invasive species can affect an ecosystem. Prerequisite Knowledge: Before beginning this lab, you should be familiar with these concepts: the definition of invasive species
the types of interactions that occur between different species in an ecosystem Introduction: Ecosystems are webs of intricately balanced interactions. But what happens when a new species is introduced that uses a disproportionate share of the ecosystem’s resources? In this lab activity, you will determine how an invasive species, the Burmese python, affects other species in the Florida Everglades.
Normal conditions (no pythons)
Enter the Ecology Lab Room by clicking the button. Then follow the Lab Procedure.
1. Four species appear in the Species Tracking box in the lower left: cougar (or Florida panther), house mouse, Burmese python, and red-eared slider. Note that the python population is set to 0 because in this first simulation, they have not yet been introduced to the ecosystem. 2. Click the green play button on the Controller, the device sitting on the floor of the Lab Room. 3. Let the simulation run until 20 years have passed, as displayed by the graphs that appear in the data window on the right side of the screen. (Years are shown on the x-axis.) The speed of the simulation can be accelerated or slowed by clicking the + and - buttons. 4. After 20 years, pause the simulation by clicking the red button on the Controller. 5. Click the SAVE button in the upper right corner of the data window to save the data to the Lab Book. 6. Then click on the Lab Book (on top of the Controller) to open the saved data. Change the data’s title from “Tropical Forest” to “Normal.” Describe the growth patterns of the mouse, cougar, and red-eared slider populations when pythons are not present.
ANSWER: The growth patterns of each species cycles like a roller coaster and are consistent....
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