Evolution Lab: The Impact of Drought Conditions on a Finch's Beak Size

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IMPACT OF DROUGHT CONDITIONS ON FINCH BEAK SIZE 6 The Impact of Drought Conditions on Finch Beak Size The Impact of Drought Conditions on Finch Beak Size Introduction Of the many parameters that can be changed for testing the evolutionary outcomes for the Darwin and Wallace Island finch populations is precipitation. The way the creators of EvolutionLab have set this parameter up, is that the amount of precipitation influences the hardness of seed coats. Three levels of hardness are available and the relative percentage of the three levels of hardness changes across a rough continuum. Seed hardness would be predicted to increase finch beak size because more force would be needed to crack open the seeds. This would be an example of directed evolution, because drought conditions will favor one extreme of the finch population, those with larger beak sizes. The bell curve would thus shift in favor of larger beaks. Hypothesis: Drought conditions on Darwin Island will increase the prevalence of large beaks within the finch population. Methods The precipitation setting for Darwin Island will be set to 10.0 cm (see Appendix A, Input Parameters), resulting in a hard, medium, and soft seed percentages of 81%, 18.0%, and 1.0%, respectively. The precipitation setting for Wallace Island will be set at 50.0 cm (see Appendix A, Input Parameters), resulting in hard, medium, and soft seed distribution of 25%, 50%, and 25%, respectively. The evolutionary time frame examined will be

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