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Speciation Activity

1. Go to the ​What is a Species?​ Activity in the online textbook.

2. Read the introduction.

Part A: Species Separation

3. Follow the procedure for Part A and place your responses below.

a. You will only need to complete 3 examples from the list.


b. For Procedure Step 3, draw the arrow diagram on a whiteboard, fill it in, then
insert a picture of the final product.

Species Separation
Example ​1​/Organism Name: ​Red and Purple Sea Urchins
Claim: ​Late
Evidence to support the claim: ​“The embryos produced, however, do not survive beyond the
very early stages of development”
Reasoning: ​While they can successfully make embryos from them both, it can only be done with
very high amounts of sperm and in a lab setting. In their natural habitat, this phenomenon would
likely not occur.

Species Separation
Example ​2​/Organism Name: ​Eastern and Great Plains Narrowmouth Frogs
Claim: ​Between early and mid
Evidence to support the claim: “​These two types of frogs occasionally breed naturally in the
areas where they overlap, but the fertility of their offspring is not known.”
Reasoning: ​The frogs can breed and produce offspring, which allows them to classify as “early”.
However, since the fertility of their offspring is not known, it is not quite “mid” yet.

Species Separation
Example 4/Organism Name: ​Horses and Donkeys
Claim: ​Mid
Evidence to support the claim: ​“Although there are some cases of female mules breeding
successfully with male horses or donkeys to produce live but infertile offspring…”
Reasoning: ​The organisms can both produce offspring, but since the offspring are infertile they
classify as “mid”.
Insert picture of arrow diagram here:

Part B: The Formation of New Species

4. Follow the procedure for Part B.

Our Groupings​:

Reproduction:​ Frogs, Horses & Donkeys, Damselflies, Purple & White Sea Urchins, Flowering
Plants

Mating: ​Blue & Red Cichlids, Fireflies, Meadowlarks, Orchids

Location:​ Lions & Tigers, Garter Snakes, Squirrels, Insects, Lacewings

Scientific Groupings:

Gametic Isolation:​ Purple & White Sea Urchins

Reduced Hybrid Viability:​ Frogs

Behavioral Isolation:​ Blue & Red Cichlids, Meadowlarks, Fireflies

Geographic Isolation:​ Lions & Tigers, Insects

Temporal Isolation:​ Orchids, Lacewings

Hybrid Sterility:​ Horses & Donkeys

Mechanical Isolation:​ Damselflies, Flowering Plants


Habitat Isolation:​ Squirrels, Garter Snakes

Isolating Mechanisms:

Reduced Hybrid Viability:​ offspring produced by two species don’t live very long

Behavioral Isolation:​ species have different mating activities that prevent them from
interbreeding

Geographic Isolation:​ species live in different parts of the world and never meet

Temporal Isolation:​ species have different reproductive cycles that don’t overlap

Mechanical Isolation:​ species can’t breed because their physical structures/bodies are
different

Habitat Isolation:​ species live in different portions of the same area

Two types of reproductive isolation:

Gametic Isolation:​ species can’t breed because their eggs and sperm are incompatible

Hybrid Sterility:​ offspring produced by two species cannot reproduce

Analysis

1. Why is appearance alone no longer considered sufficient evidence for classifying


organisms? ​Appearance is no longer considered sufficient evidence for classifying
organisms because they found that cases that proved otherwise (i.e. species appearing
the same being actually different, species appearing different being actually the same).

2. Explain how geographic isolation can lead to speciation. ​Geographic isolation can lead
to speciation in that species that were once the same are now exposed to different
stimuli. This creates a situation where the species will adapt in different ways and,
through natural selection, will eventually diverge in terms of biological attributes.

3. Lions and tigers do not overlap in range and do not breed in nature. In captivity, a male
lion may mate with a female tiger and produce offspring. Although more rare, a male
tiger may also mate with a female lion to produce offspring. In both cases, the male
offspring are sterile, while the females might or might not be fertile. Explain where lions
and tigers are on the speciation continuum, according to the biological species concept.
Support your answer with evidence and reasoning. ​Lions and tigers are on the “mid”
level in terms of speciation. The “mid” classification is defined by two species being able
to successfully produce offspring but said offspring are sterile due to chromosomal
abnormalities. This is supported by the fact that when males are produced by breeding
lions and tigers, they are always sterile, thus placing the two species into that speciation
classification.

4. How did your groupings of the reproductive barriers in Part B resemble or differ from
those used by scientists as shown by the cards in Procedure Step 13? ​Our groupings of
the reproductive barriers differed from those used by scientists in that we placed all of
the cards that had anything related to reproduction into just one group. This is in contrast
to the scientists, who further classified these species based on nature/characteristics of
the reproductive barrier (meaning they had more groups to classify with).

5. Why do you think you came up with a different set of groups in Part B than scientists do
in their groupings? ​We likely came up with a different set of groups in Part B than
scientists because our knowledge of species is less than that of the scientists. We based
ours on prior knowledge while the scientists based theirs on years of extensive
observation and analysis. This is seen by how detailed our groups are versus theirs, with
their groups being more specific.

6. Did any of the species pairs in Part B show more than one barrier to reproduction? List
examples, and describe the barriers they display.

a. Insects:​ the plants they live and feed on can either be geographically isolated or
habitually isolated

b. Horses & Donkeys​: the offspring can be affected by gamete isolation, where
their gametes cannot interact with the gametes of other hybrids.

7. Describe the barriers that are causing reproductive isolation for each of the following
from Part A:

a. Red and Purple sea urchins:​ The barriers causing reproductive isolation for these
urchins is because of their varied locations. They are exposed to different
environmental stimuli, which impacts their genetic makeup. This is likely the
cause of why their hybrid offspring cannot survive, since their genetics have
diverged to the point where they incompatible.

b. Eastern and Great Plains narrowmouth frogs: ​The barriers that are causing
reproductive isolation for these species is the fact that they are geographically
isolated. They live in different environments and therefore have developed
different adaptations to help survive in said environments. This likely has
changed their genetic makeup to the point where the fertility of their offspring is
affected by it.

c. Northern and California spotted owls: ​ The barriers causing reproductive isolation
is due to the different locations these birds live in. They have to adapt to different
environments, thus altering their appearance and genetic makeup. While they
can still make fertile offspring, it is likely that over time, this will not be as
common due to their different adaptations.

8. Two related species of frogs appear to be very similar, but they have different mating
calls. In addition, one species breeds in the fall, and the other breeds in the spring.
What mechanisms contribute to reproductive isolation of these species? ​Behavioral
Isolation and Temporal Isolation contributes to reproductive isolation with these species.

9. Two related species of birds appear to be similar, but when they breed, their offspring
rarely survive past a few days old. What mechanisms leads to reproductive isolation of
these species? ​Reduced Hybrid Viability

10. A genetic change occurs in the gene pool of a population of a single flower species with
large white tubular flowers. This species is normally pollinated by a species of large bee
that is attracted to large white tubular flowers. Pollination is essential for these flowers to
produce seeds. In some individuals, one genetic change leads to the production of
much smaller flowers. Explain how this could lead to speciation in the population. ​The
trait that causes some plants to have smaller flowers could lead to speciation in the fact
that their structures can change. Since large bees aren’t attracted to small flowers, these
individuals will likely have to adapt to make themselves more attractive. The resulting
changes over time could lead to a separation in the flower species where the plants with
big flowers differ from ones with small flowers.