Notebook: Record your own notes on the results of the lab--your hypotheses, details about results, and conclusions. You can also move data from the Results pages directly to the Notebook - see Exporting.
Assignments: Doing the assignments is critical to understanding the concepts of this lab. The Assignments here were written to benefit a wide range of general biology classes and you should find them helpful, but check with your instructor before proceeding with any Assignments.
As you run experiments, form hypothoses and test them, you should keep notes on your theories and findings in the EvolutionLab notebook. You may access the notebook at any time from the Infobar. The notebook will open up in a separate window.
Export: The current contents of the notebook are exported to a temporary HTML file. This file is then opened in your browser. Exporting your notes allows you to print them when you are done with your assignment. NOTE: extremely long notes will cause machines to hang when trying to export. If you are running many experiments it is best to print your notes and clear the notebook occasionally.
Undo Edit: Any changes you have made to the notebook since it was last opened will be removed, restoring it to its state when it was opened.
Input buttons allow you to change variable information to allow you to make comparisons between many different hypothetical evolutionary situations. Clicking on any of the input buttons in the left hand panel will bring up the controls for that variable in the right hand panel.
The different parameters in EvolutionLab are changed by using Sliders to increase or decrease the value for each variable parameter. Ideally, you want to compare different values for any one parameter on each of the two hypothetical islands, Wallace Island and Darwin Island. The parameters are the following:
Heritability: This measures the genetic contribution to beak size and can vary from 0 to 1, with zero representing no genetic contribution (all differences are caused by the environment) and one representing no environmental contribution (all differences between individuals are due to genetics).
Variance: This is a measure how much different the beak size is from one bird to the next, and can be varied from 0.0 mm to 2.0 mm. At 0 mm all of the birds have the same beak size, at 2.0 mm there is wide variation in beak size with some birds having beaks 3 or 4 mm larger or smaller than the mean
Results are given automatically after the Run button is clicked and an experiment is completed. The results are presented in various forms which can be accessed by clicking on the appropriate button in the frame on the left side of the page:
A table of the raw data on the population and mean beak size on each island, for each year.
Bar graphs illustrate the numbers of surviving birds versus total birds and relative beak sizes on each island. The horizontal line or x-axis shows beak size, and the vertical line or y-axis shows number of birds. The thin red and blue vertical lines which appear near the middle of the histogram represent the mean beak sizes for the surviving birds and the total birds respectively.
A line graph shows average beak size over time on the two islands.
A line graph shows finch population over time on the two islands.
A chart shows all input parameters and the values entered for each island.