Impact of Biotic and Abiotic Living Conditions on Lizards – Sample Lab Report

Purpose

The main purpose of the lab is to investigate the impact of the biotic and abiotic living conditions on two groups of lizards, which are split by hurricane and isolated into two groups, one in mainland and the other in an island far from the main land.

Introduction

Reproduction is natural phenomena that occur daily across all species. Human beings and animals undergo reproduction, producing offspring all year. In order for reproduction to take place, it must involve two species. According to (Audesirk, Audesirk, & Byers, 2008), a species can be defined as groups of organisms with similar genetic makeup, which can interbreed to produce viable offspring. However, the natural world can have a huge impact on the animal species, for example, if an earthquake occurred leading to an isolation of two species it could have an impact on their genetic evolution. The natural occurrence will subject the two groups of species to different conditions, which will lead to natural selection. The difference in the climatic conditions will lead to a development of selective evolution, a process referred to as speciation. The speciation process leads to the development of two species with different genetic makeup.

Hypothesis

The lizards in the isolated island did not mate with the ones in the mainland to produce offspring that were fertile.

Methods

The process of study of speciation involved the use of simulation that that provided a timeline of the evolution of a group of the lizards on an isolated environment. Initially, a single species of lizards occupied one habitat. The occurrence of the hurricane split the species of lizards into two groups; one remained in the mainland, while the other group was swept to the island. With time, the isolated group of lizards began to diverge because of genetic drift and the impact of natural selection. The divergent group was eventually studied to determine whether they had formed a new species of lizards.

Results/Outcomes

The isolated lizards underwent divergence and evolved into new species, which were not able to mate with the groups in the mainland to produce viable offspring.

Discussion/Analysis

Speciation is an event that splits a lineage, which produces two or more sets of species. The process can happen in many ways, for example, a group of flies that hatch eggs on a banana fruit at a shore, which are then swept to a far mainland (Jiggins, 2005). Similarly, a group of lizards, as studied in the lab represents a scenario that creates speciation. In the lab experiment, the lizards that were swept to the far mainland were subjected to different environmental conditions and they underwent genetic mutation, which led to development of new species of lizards.

According to (Rundle & Nosil, 2005), when two populations are separated owing to disasters, such as hurricane, the inability for such groups to meet impedes gene flow for reunion. In the lab study, the hurricane isolated the two groups of lizards and thus preventing gene flow. Since the ecological conditions in the mainland and the island were different, the lizards in the island begun to evolve under the different conditions and selective pressures. Moreover, according to the author, preferences to food, morphology and courtship, display change over time in many generations. When the isolated lizards are introduced to the island, they cannot mate with the mainland lizards. However, if they mate, they produce eggs that are not viable because of their genetic differences.

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