Empirical/Quantitative Skill Outcome:
1. Apply scientific and mathematical concepts to analyze and solve problems
Course Learning Outcome:
1. Explain the methods of inquiry used by scientists.
2. Describe the unity and diversity of life and the evidence for evolution through natural selection.
Chapter 1 Objectives:
1. Distinguish between quantitative and qualitative data.
2. Compare the definitions and use of inductive and deductive reasoning in scientific investigations by analyzing a scientific experiment.
3. Interpret graphical representation of scientific data.
Purpose: In this activity, students will use empirical and quantitative skills to explore the scientific method by analyzing the results of an experiment conducted by Kaufman (1974) on adaptive coloration used by Peromyscus polionotus. In turn, students will relate this experiment to topics discussed in chapter 1 by exploring how adaptive coloration relates to evolution and natural selection by exploring how organisms have developed techniques to help them survive by blending in with their environment.
Reference: D.W Kaufman, Adaptive coloration in Peromyscus polionotus: Experimental selections by owls, Journal of Mammalogy 55:271-283 (1974).
Directions: Read the prompt below and answer the following questions:
How much does camouflage affect predation on mice by owls with and without moonlight?
Nearly half a century ago, D. W. Kaufman investigated the effect of prey camouflage on predation. Kaufman tested the hypothesis that the amount of contrast between the coat color of a mouse and the color of its surroundings would affect the rate of nighttime predation by owls. He also hypothesized that the color contrast would be affected by the amount of moonlight. In this exercise, you will analyze data from his owl-mouse predation studies.
Pairs of mice (Peromyscus polionotus) with different coat colors, one light brown and one dark brown, were released simultaneously into an enclosure that contained a hungry owl. The researcher recorded the color of the mouse that was first caught by the owl. If the owl did not catch either mouse within 15 minutes, the test was recorded as a zero. The release trials were repeated multiple times in enclosures with either a dark-colored soil surface or a light-colored soil surface. The presence or absence of moonlight during each assay was recorded. (see graph below)
1. a) Briefly explain in your own words what are the researchers trying to investigate. Make sure to include what is their hypothesis (15 pts).
The researchers in this experiment are testing which pair of mice (light or dark coat) will consistently get picked up when placed near a hungry owl. However, they are also testing if it makes a difference as to what type of soil these mice are placed and if the moon would have any affect in it as well. Kaufman’s hypothesis predicted that the amount of contrast between the coat color of a mouse and the color of its surroundings would affect the r...