Turtle Island and the forces of evolution

The point of this discussion board is to review the four forces of evolution, and think about micro and macro evolution in a creative way.

Background on Turtle Island:

You are a young Biological Anthropologist aboard the HMS Beagle. A storm wreaks your ship and you and your crew wash up on the beach of an island. The island is home to the regular green turtle we know today. Over time, you and the crew join up with other ship-wreck survivors and populate the island. You build a large highway on the island that runs north/south, and another that runs east/west (yes, you are incredibly inventive and skilled!). Now the island is divided into four sections, each with a different environment. As a result, the turtles are separated from each other into four distinct groups, since every time they try to cross the highway they get turned into road-kill. After millions of years, each group of turtles evolves and successfully adapts to their section of the island’s particular environment.

These are the environments:
Area 1: This is a densely wooded portion of the island. The trees are tall, but with dense foliage at the top. The trees are so dense that they have made it impossible for foliage to
grow low down on the ground. Plus, intense rains often create flash floods that wash away ground-dwelling animals.

Area 2: This is a very dry, rocky portion of the island. There are gaping canyons with
cliffs more than a mile deep, with rushing rivers at the bottom that separate the turtles
from their food source. There are also predators, such as foxes and coyotes that have highly developed teeth that can tear through a turtle shell. However, these predators are not very adept at climbing mountains.

Area 3: This is a wet, watery portion of the island. There are huge, deep lakes covering the island. In the dry season, these lakes dry up to nothing. Then flash floods bring them back in an instant. In the lakes live sharks and fish that love to feast upon turtles, while on land there are birds that love to eat turtle eggs.

Area 4: This is an extremely dry desert portion of the island. It only rains once a year and
the turtles must survive somehow until the next rain. There is very little vegetation on this
island but there are tons of small rodents. There terrain is dry sand dunes, composed of soft, sinking sand. There is a group of humans on this island who love to eat turtle eggs, sunny side-up.

Choose one area from above and draw the amazingly well-adapted turtles from that area. Include at least two phenotypic adaptations for each turtle.

Take a photo of your drawing to upload it to the discussion board. How to embed a photo in a discussion board

Hit reply to my post, make your first words the name of the area you chose (1, 2, 3 or 4), embed the photo of your drawing and then type up the answers to the following question. Make sure you refer to the readings and video lecture for information on the 4 forces of evolution.

1. Tell us about the adaptations of your turtles and explain how and why they arose in this way. Identify which of the four forces of evolution were at play in the evolution of this species (it could be more than one) and describe how they resulted in these changes. In other words, imagine and describe what might have happened over millions of years and many generations for a regular green turtle species to evolve into your new species? (at least 1 paragraph)

Then look at other people’s turtles and reply to their posts. In your replies, please discuss macro evolution and how and why your turtles could be considered the same or different species. What might happen if your turtles were to interact or join the same environment? What would be the isolating mechanism if any?

Post your turtles and description by Thursday and two replies by Sunday.

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