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Natural Selection and Population Dynamics

Natural Selection

1. Demonstrate familiarity with library and electronic media to study scientific principles of Natural Selection and Population Dynamics and their importance in studying ecosystems and basic driving force of evolution.

Ecosystems are parts of the biosphere where a group of animals and plants named a community interact with non-biotic factors to produce a self-standing system by fixing energy and recycling matter.
We are studying ecosystems from two different aspects Natural Selection and population (a species in an ecosystem) interactions.

You can watch a video which clearly defines and describes Natural Selection Natural Selection defined and described.
After understanding natural selection, you can watch a small video which shows how prey population are favored or not favored by nature and how the better adapted one reproduced more and getting established in a habitat.

After watching the above videos, you are going to do a simulation experiment.

Use the link below to do the simulation and fill up the work sheet where you have fill up the hypothesis for each habitat (3 habitats), experimental details, results and discussions.

Click the above link and go to the simulation page. Where you read the link Natural Selection. Then read the introduction for the Simulation. The Simulation is running for 3 different habitats. You are the predator, so catch the preys like a predator. You can do little research on the internet/library for the basis for this experiment and use the worksheet provided to do the assignment.

When you read the worksheet, you will see that you run the simulation three times and find the % of each prey type after each predation episode.

I am directing you to a very touching video which explains the basic principles of population dynamics in a natural system. You will get a feel of how research is conducted by dedicated scientists, how they collaborate, how they develop hypotheses, how they conduct their research and come up to conclusions. You can see how they use from very crude tools and how they go to specific sophisticated tools as years go by with new discoveries and inventions.

Click the following link to watch the video
Serengeti - a natures laboratory
I am also directing you to a simulation on population dynamics You adjust the different parameters given in the model to different levels (you can do it by playing with the model by adjusting the parameters given: the number of prey, predators, their relative reproduction, number of generations, relative herbivory, relative predation) and take a screenshot with the full capacity of the plant that is 100 in the accompanying graph.
Click the following link for simulation

Answer the following questions after watching the video
1. What is carrying capacity?
2. What are the two types of population control in a natural habitat (refer Serengeti video)?
3. What is the advantage of migratory wildebeest over resident wildebeest in maintaining their population number?
4. How is wildfire prevented by wildebeest?
5. Why wildebeest considered as the keystone species in Serengeti wilderness?

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