Investigation: What Factors Influence the Rate of Evolution?

simulation screen

Objective: In this lab, you will use a computer simulation to track a population of organisms as they evolve. The simulation allows you to change certain features of your population, like mutation rate and selection strength. Your goal is to gather data, graph the data and analyze which factors influence the rate of evolution.

Instructions

1. Go to www.biologyinmotion.com ,click on the link that says "evolution lab"

2. Read the introduction and the contents to learn about the imaginary creatures you will be studying and how to operate the simulator. You may also want to look at the help link.

3. Open the simulator and practice using the controls before you go on to the real simulation. Be sure to "reset" the simulator when you're finished practicing.

Simulation A - Question: How does increasing the mutation rate affect the evolution of your population?

Prediction: As the mutation rate increases, the rate of evolution [ increases / decreases / stays the same ].

Experiment: Run four trials, each having a different mutation rate. Mutation rate can be adjusted under "settings," leave selection strength at .8 for all of the trials. Run four trials, each having a different mutation rate.

Record your data on the Blank Data Tables (doc) as you run the simulations.

Simulation B - Question: How does increasing the selection strength affect the evolution of your population?

Prediction: As the selection strength increases, the rate of evolution [ increases / decreases / stays the same ].

Experiment: Run four trials, each having a different selection strength. Mutation rate can be adjusted under "settings," leave mutation rate at .3 for all of the trials.

Record your data on the Blank Data Tables (doc) as you run the simulations.

Analysis

Answer the following questions on a separate page, title this page "Evolution Simulation" and make sure your name is on it.

creature1. Describe how the simulation models natural selection (and evolution), include a definition of both of these terms.

2. Explain HOW the mutation rate affects the evolution of your populations, use the prediction statements above to help you make a concise statement about the efffect of mutation rate on evolution.

Explain WHY the mutation rate affects the evolution of your populations.

3. Explain HOW altering the selection rate affects the evolution of your populations, use the prediction statement again.


Explain WHY altering the selection rate affects the evolution of your populations and include a definition of what selection strength is for your population.