This week we finished up the anole lab, learned about speciation and later watched a video about desert mice adapting to their environment.
Although the anole lab was pretty tedious, in the end I did learn a few new things. It was interesting to learn that even if the same species of anoles lived on separate islands with similar habitat and forestry, they tend to evolve in the same way. When the scientists compared the different anoles on each island, every anole living in a different niche had similar limb length and color to that of the similar niche on the different island. By completing the model lab about anoles on the island, I also learned that the evolution of these species is proved through measuring the leg length and toe pad number in different generations. (1.A.4) By comparing these mathematical measurements, we can see how the anoles adapting to their particular niche. It seemed to me that the scientists confirmed four different species of anoles, but could there be even more species we don’t know about, just living in a different niche?
The last note about the Anole lab is the experiment of putting the anoles on little sub islands with no record of anoles living there before. Why does there have to be no anoles in order for the experiment to work? After several generations of anoles, the data showed that, yes, they did adapt to living with the smaller bushes and trees on the little island. I learned that this process happens by random mutation, and natural selection chooses the better species and characteristics within the anole to survive. (1.A.3)
Natural Selection is not random! Only some components of it are. (Mutations)
Later in the week, we watched a Bozeman video about speciation, which again proved to be very helpful.
Here’s a link for the video: http://www.bozemanscience.come/speciation
There are a lot of new vocabulary terms in this video, and for me it’s a lot to remember. But basically, speciation first occurs when a barrier is created. This barrier creates reproductive isolation. Overtime, the species divides into two and when the barrier is removed, the species have evolved so they no longer recognize each other as the same species. Here is picture to show the different types of speciation. I found it very helpful in differentiating the different terms.
Lastly, we watched a short video on desert mice. I think this video has the same idea as the anole video, but just used a different species. Basically, in the desert a volcano erupted and poured a lot of lava and volcanic ash, which created several areas of rock to turn black. The desert mice, originally light in color, adapted in that area to have black fur. Basically, a random mutation occurred and the darker mouse was naturally selected to survive because the eagles and birds had a harder time hunting these dark mice in the dark rock. (1A3) Was there anything different between the mice and the anoles in their different environments?
In the end, I learned a lot more about speciation and how species evolve overtime. I hope we can continually learn more about speciation and the different types in order for me to more fully understand it.