Virtual Lab experiments

Ecosystem simulator 

Read the Overview and launch this  ecolosystem simulator. Familiarize yourself with the simulator interface. Notice that you can control which species are present in your environment initially and what the diets of each species are. The types of species possible in the program are Plants (A,B,C), Herbivores (A,B,C), Omnivores (A,B) and one top Predator. You can control the diet of each by indicating what they feed on. By setting up different starting configurations you can investigate the evolution of this simulated ecological system. 
•   A. In a couple of sentences describe what happens when you start with only plants (A & B) and then all species of plants present.
•   B. Describe how many herbivores and omnivores you added (and what they eat) in order to create an ecosystem in which all three plant species can coexist. (if you cannot accomplish the survival of Plant C describe your best configuration. Describe your ecologies by identifying the species present and their diet, for instance: 
Omnivore A eats Herbivore A, Herbivore A eats plant A and plant B, Herbivore B eats plant A, All plants present.
•   C. If you can accomplish part B., see if you can get all of the species to coexist. (limit your time on this entire experiment to 90 minutes)
•   D. If we assume that this simulation is a reasonable oversimplification of a typical ecosystems food web what does it tell us about biodiversity and ecology- are they robust or fragile? In general is an ecosystem’s biodiversity preserved as it responds to change?

Food webs

Virtual Lab 6:           Evolution   

Natural Selection simulator 1
Natural Selection Simulator 2
Alternative to Lab 6: Experiments in Evolution
Alternative Lab writeup for 6Experiments in Evolution  This simulation follows a set of real life experiments in evolution and natural selection.  Read about Endler’s work  then familiarize yourself with the interface, guppies, guppy predators, and the experiment. Use an “even mix” of the different guppy color types to start. Run three experiments one with each of the combination of predators. Each experiment should run for five or more generations. 
•   State the percentage that each color type makes up in your guppy population both before and after you have let five generations pass. With each experiment state a conclusion that is consistent with your observation. 
•   What two selection pressures are operative? 


Virtual Lab 7:           Anatomy and Dissection   

A.  Complete one of the following online dissections:

1.  Earth worm 
•  Identify items 1 & 2 on the external dorsal surface of the worm. 
•   Identify items 3, 4, & 5 on the external ventral surface of the worm. 
•   Identify item 2 in the internal morphology w/o the digestive tract. 
•   Do worms have sex? 

2.  Fetal Pig
•   Use the Anatomical References guide. To what region of the body does dorsal, ventral, anterior, and posterior refer to? 
•  Investigate the Nervous system. Name four large regions (lobes) of the brain and indicate roughly where they are located in the brain and their associated functions. 

B.  Comparative Anatomy  and the  fossil evidence of human evolution 
•    Compare  the the skull casts of a chimp,  Australopithicus,  Homo erectus,neanderthal, and modern  Homo  sapiens. Be sure to use the lateral view. 
•  Describe features that are common and different between the cranial structure of these creatures. What patterns do you see? 
•   Describe the basic time-line and sequence of evolution for the creatures listed above. 

The Human Brain 1, 2
Cat dissection 1,  2 
Alternative lab for Comparative Anatomy 


Virtual Lab 8:            Human Impacts   

A.  Water footprint:,  2. H20 Conserve,  3. Goblue,  4. BBC 
•   Describe the  water crisis.  How is it impacting women and children? What is happening with the Ogalala? 
•   Describe what the water footprint is and how it is estimated. 
•   Report at least two estimates of your water footprint 
     (and the calculator(s) that you used). 
•   Describe three ways that you could reduce your water footprint.

B.  Carbon footprint:  1. UK Government,  2. Terrapass  ,  3. C Footprint Ltd 
•   Describe what has happened to  atmospheric CO2  over the last 100,000 years and how this is thought to be impacting the climate. 
•   Describe what the carbon footprint is and how it is estimated. 
•   Report at least two estimates of your carbon footprint 
     (and the calculator(s) that you used). 
•   Describe two ways that you could reduce your carbon footprint.
•   Describe two approaches to lowering our carbon footprint as a nation that you would advocate we adapt society wide. 

The Water cycle,  Water crisis. 
International comparison Carbon Footprints 
Atmospheric CO2 levels- historical timeline
Ecological Footprint estimator 1  , 2 
The human footprint over time 


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