Sunday, April 4, 2010

Peppermoth Thingee - Period 6

We are just beginning our study of evolution (in case you forgot over the break).

I just found this nice interactive activity that I think you will find useful and fun. You can find it here:

Play with it, and then report back here as to what you have learned.

Have fun!

This is due by Friday, April 9th.

22 comments:

dancer215 said...

I learned a lot about evolution and adaptation during the Peppermoth Activity. I learned that humans can affect the evolution of different species in ways you wouldn't even think. The pollution during the Industrial Revolution caused there to be a mutation in the DNA of the Peppered moth, and one moth passed the coloring gene to their offspring. The color was genetic, a light colored moth would produce more light colored moths, and the same for the dark moth. Natural selection then started to play into the situation, because the dark moths were starting to appear more and more all over the polluted forests. This was because the dark colored moths would blend into the dark colored trees so as not to be seen by birds. Light colored moths stood less of a chance in the polluted forests than in the clean forests, where the trees were light. This all shows that when a species experiences a change to their environment, they will adapt to it to ensure their survival. It all goes back to the essential question "How do living things pass on 'how to live' to their offspring?" This is one way how. This also got me thinking about how animals become extinct. I know that one way for them to become extinct is that a predator of theirs kills them out if that predator experiences overpopulation. But it made me start thinking about how evolution can affect the extinction of a species. If a species fails to adapt, then they can't pass on the necessary trait to their offspring. This will slowly cause their species to die out. One last question I had was, if a species fails to adapt, why is that so? What causes it? Is there a certain reason? I was thinking that they might not have the necessary parts to carry out the adaptation, but it's something I'd like to know more about.

awesomecoolguy said...

Pepper moth Activity Blog Work

I thought that the pepper moth activity was very cool and interesting. I learned a lot about evolution and how it applies to pepper moths. The activity had lots of information. It talked about the pepper moth specifically, how pollution affected it, the scientists who researched it, how natural selection plays a role in this situation and much more. There also was a game where you were a bird in first a light forest and then a dark forest. In the game you were supposed to eat butterflies. You ate more black butterflies in the light forest and you ate more white butterflies in the dark forest because you could see them better in those places. I thought that part was very interesting and cool because it helped me understand more. I thought that the activity was very good and it has helped me learn and make more sense of evolution and how it is applied to organisms.

nyJETSfan 38 said...

Pepper Moth Activity

I thought that the article was pretty cool and packed with useful information that will help me better understand evolution. The activities had a lot of information on how their predators hunted for their pray. I really liked the game that they setup too. It really gave you a sense on how people affected them as well as nature it mainly taught me that the genetic makeup of an organism can be either their greatest weapon, or their worst enemy. It also showed how natural selection worked in those types of situations. The last major thing that I got out of it was that humans really either helped or hurt the animals. In the dark forest, the pepper moths really had an advantage over the light moths because the blended in. In all I really liked this activity and I wish we could more stuff like this.

FlowerPower said...

Pepper Moth Blog

I learned a lot from the web site. It was really interesting for me to read about how the moths over time began to naturally survive better because the color that they were allowed for them to survive longer and have more offspring. It was really interesting to learn about how the human impact on the species completely changed the physical appearance of them. It is interesting how the moths correlate completely with the pollution in the air, if there is a lot of pollution and it starts to affect the moths physical appearance due to the change in their surroundings.
It was cool how RS Edleston made an observation and then later what he thought was completely different became the normal for almost all of the pepper moths because the lighter colored moths were unable to camouflage as well as they used to, so now the mutation of the one moth that was darker got passed on because he was able to have more children because he could live longer.
I would like to know if it was just a coincidence that there was a mutation for a dark moth, and normally they would just die out quickly because they would normally not be able to blend into the surroundings?

pikachu said...

I thought this was a great way to learn about natural selection at work. It was amazing to see how quickly these moths had evolved, going from a completely different color, when they needed to. I guess it happened so quickly because of the moths' short life span. It must be a lot easier to change your genes when the next generation begins every summer! I didn't really know much about Peppered Moths, though, except for brief discussions in class. It really amazed me how much of the Peppered Moth's lives are dedicated to camouflage. As a caterpillar, they disguise themselves as sticks, so as not to be eaten, even changing color to match their surroundings! Then, after hatching, they master the art, blending in perfectly with their environment. It was really cool to see how vital a skill that is to them, which is probably another reason why they changed their patterns so drastically.

The website was cool as well. It was well organized, and easy to understand (Even if there was more than one grammatical error). I thought that the "Bird's Eye View" section was really cool. It not only really fun to play, (especially the crunching of the exoskeleton... yum) but it also stuck in my mind how hard it was to see the black moths, and how easy it was to find the pale moths and visa versa. All together, I thought it was a great site to visit!

pikachu said...

I thought this was a great way to learn about natural selection at work. It was amazing to see how quickly these moths had evolved, going from a completely different color, when they needed to. I guess it happened so quickly because of the moths' short life span. It must be a lot easier to change your genes when the next generation begins every summer! I didn't really know much about Peppered Moths, though, except for brief discussions in class. It really amazed me how much of the Peppered Moth's lives are dedicated to camouflage. As a caterpillar, they disguise themselves as sticks, so as not to be eaten, even changing color to match their surroundings! Then, after hatching, they master the art, blending in perfectly with their environment. It was really cool to see how vital a skill that is to them, which is probably another reason why they changed their patterns so drastically.

The website was cool as well. It was well organized, and easy to understand (Even if there was more than one grammatical error). I thought that the "Bird's Eye View" section was really cool. It not only really fun to play, (especially the crunching of the exoskeleton... yum) but it also stuck in my mind how hard it was to see the black moths, and how easy it was to find the pale moths and visa versa.

sillyseekoo11 said...

I thought that the information that this website contained was interesting like how humans can have a big impact on the organisms surrounding us. In England, when they were experiencing the time period of the Industrial Revolution, there were a lot of buildings and machinery that were being built. All the burning fuel and coal was causing pollution in the environment around the pepper moths’ habitat. This was a key part to what led to the mutations that occurred in the DNA of the peppered moths. I found it interesting that the pollution changed the DNA of the peppered moth. Usually environmental changes like pollution have a deadly consequence for the organisms that are living in the surrounding environment, but it’s interesting to see how the mutation that occurred in the peppered moths helped them survive in their environment. It was important that because the forests surrounding England’s machinery were turning dark in response to the burning coal, the DNA change in the pepper moths changed their wing color dark too. This mutation actually helped the pepper moths living in that forest, because it gave them the same color as the trees. This was vital for the pepper moths because it allowed them to camouflage, which protected them from their predators.
Because the moths were adapting to the changes that were occurring, when they produced offspring, their offspring had the same colored wings. The mutation that occurred to the pepper moths, turning them dark, allowed the dark pepper moths to pass it on to their offspring. That was why their were more dark pepper moths in the polluted forests, and more light pepper moths in the clean forests.
Natural selection also became clear to me after looking over this website. There were more dark pepper moths in the polluted forests because they were able to survive there. Light pepper moths that lived in dark forests were spotted easier than dark pepper moths that were able to camouflage. This caused light pepper moth population to decrease in dark forests. Light pepper moths then soon die out, and there isn’t much left. So because dark pepper moths were able survive, they were able to produce more offspring like them. Soon enough, a dark forest would contain mostly dark pepper moths. A new species of pepper moths became as a result of this. This is the way natural selection works. Soon after industrial countries reduced their pollution, the forests that used to be dark, became lighter and the dark moths that lived there then died out. It is all about adapting to your environment so that you can survive, and that was the whole concept of the dark and light pepper moths.

sweethomeidaho said...

I thought that this website did a very good job of showing all of this information. I found it very interesting that we could play such a big role in evolution of other species. it astounded me how some of the same organism changed color to better survive as a species. Mr. Ardito told us that when faced with such a dilemma, you either have to evolve, or go extinct and the pepper Moths evolved in time. The article also states that during the industrial revolution for England, pepper moths were spotted with a darker color if they lived near the city so they could further blend in. You would think that this would always help, but not all of England is urbanized, so in light forests, the dark moths have a far inferior population compared with the white moths. This, as you can imagine is the other way around in dark forests. There is a binding them to all of this and that is natural selection. The way that natural selection works is that it's either adapt or die out. There have been many instances in history when a species has gone extinct because of their lack to adapt, but luckily that was not the case for pepper moths. Btw, the sound of the bird eating the moths was funny.

7200gummybears said...

One thing I learned is how the mutation in the moths occurred. At some point one moth got a mutation to be a darker color. Later on that darker color became useful. Then that moth was able to reproduce more. Then that color became more popular. I applied what I learned to black squirrels in our area (i think this is what happened with them). At one point I only saw black squirrels occasionally. Then I started seeing them more, and more often. Now I don't see them at all. I think this happened because of changes like the changes with peppermoths and then reverse changes like with the peppermoths. The color changes were very similar to the peppermoth color changes so that led me to believe that black squirrels came about because of pollution impacts and then the effort to lower the carbon footprint. The only flaw is that we don't have factories that we built last year. With that, the only way this could be possible is if they migrated.

Another thing I learned is that every theory has to be tested. Even if it seems like the perfect explanation there is still room for flaws. Dr. Kettlewell was smart to test the theory of natural selection. Any good scientist would test their theory, or structure for flaws over and over again. I think I would test my squirrels theory if I had time and knew how to do it. It is also good to have multiple theories. This way you could compare them and see where they don't match. The places they don't match would show that one has a potential flaw. If I were pursuing a career in research of black squirrels I would come up with many theories and have my peers come up with lots of theories so we could compare and analyze them.

The last thing I learned is that camouflage is important for survival for some species. Also that it is harder to see something that is still versus when it is moving. When I did the birds eye simulation I did it once with each scenario. With the white trees it was harder to find the white moths and with the dark trees it was harder to find the black moths. Although it was harder to find the black moths with the dark trees it was easier to find black moths on dark trees than it was to find white moths on white trees. One reason could be because I did that scenario second. Another reason could be because even with the evolution they were still easier to be found than before.

BigSnow said...

The coolest part about the peppermoth is how it's camouflage works so well. I was amazed to see the picture of it in leaves or whatever it's in, because it took me about 2 minutes to see where the moth was. I felt really stupid for the next 5 minutes or so, but now I just appreciate it's amazing disguise.
It is a little sad to me that they don't live for more than one year. And, half of that year is spent in a cocoon, which they use to cover then selves to avoid death in the winter.
It is also amazing to me that ONE moth turned the whole entire population his color. It makes sense as to why they survive better darker, but all it took was one moth to help the entire species survive better, and thrive better.
The best part of the slideshow presentation was the game/simulator. While it was simple, it really showed the effects of how the moth was able to survive that much better just because of his color.
The most interesting thing to me, though, is that their whole species turned black and they were able to survive better just because of a MISTAKE. So the peppermoth as a species survived better and thrived better because one peppermoth was born with a genetic disorder. It is just weird that it was unintended by nature or the species.

Anonymous said...

The Peppered Moth activity was definitely original. It was packed with information but easy to read, so it wasn’t difficult to get through. Since it relates to what we are working on it was easy for me to see how conclusions were drawn, and make my own observations.

Some things I liked about the activity:
• The information was organized, and put into different categories, so information wasn’t just being thrown at me.
• It helped me to see how evolution doesn’t always take a long period of time to work; sometimes it can happen over a pretty short period.
• It showed how humans have a huge impact on the environment and can affect species very quickly.
• It helped me to be able to develop theories and make predictions in other cases of evolution.
• It was cool how you could see what the birds were doing in different forests during the “Birds Eye View,” portion and be involved in the interactive activity.

Some things I learned:
• Insects are affected by the environment in very short time periods.
• When the environment changed the Peppered Moths were affected in large numbers, it wasn’t just a group of them.
• The pollution in a forest affected the amount of dark or white moths in the area.
• The color of the moth can make it live longer or shorter.
• When a dark moth lived in a clean forest they would die faster than a light moth in a clean forest.
• Light moths would die sooner than dark moths in polluted forests.

cookiemonster1132 said...

I really like this site. I thought it was really fun to play around with. I learned that peppered moths usually are 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches across. Something else I learned was predators for peppered moths are flycatchers, nuthatches, and European robins. Peppered moth eggs hatch during the mid summer. In the past the darker moths were very rare.

It was rare in 1848, but over the next fifty years it became very common. Scientist finally found out the color was genetic. The dark color was caused by a mutation in the DNA.

During the 1950's, and scientist named Henry Brenard Davis Kettlewell did a series of experiments to see what caused the huge rise of dark moths. He recorded the times the birds found the moths on the tree trunks. The same birds would find the dark moths twice as often on the bark of the tree that was light.

I thought that the game was actually really fun.

RHCPfan911 said...

Peppermoth Thingee

I thought that the Peppermoth program was very cool, helpful, and interactive. It was very interesting to learn about Peppermoth evolution and how we, as humans, affected their species. Because of the English industrial revolution, forests got polluted and darker, which caused the Peppermoth species to turn from almost all white, to mostly black.

From this activity I learned a lot about the species, Peppermoths. First of all, Peppermoths have amazing camouflage throughout their whole lifespan. As larvae they look like sticks and blend into the trees. As adults, they blend into the lichen fungi that grow on trees. Peppermoths never live for more than a year. These are just some of the facts I learned.

I also learned a lot about evolution in this species. I found it very fascinating that the species evolved in only around two hundred years. The black color, which they evolved into, started as a mutation. In the dark forests, the darker moths lived longer and created more offspring. The gene for the black trait was passed on. This process repeated itself over and over again.

Now, the moths are turning lighter again. Since humans started taking action for the environment, the forests are getting cleaner, and causing the moths to change. It is very cool and surprising that our efforts are actually doing something.

RHCPfan911 said...

Peppermoth Thingee

I thought that the Peppermoth program was very cool, helpful, and interactive. It was very interesting to learn about Peppermoth evolution and how we, as humans, affected their species. Because of the English industrial revolution, forests got polluted and darker, which caused the Peppermoth species to turn from almost all white, to mostly black.

From this activity I learned a lot about the species, Peppermoths. First of all, Peppermoths have amazing camouflage throughout their whole lifespan. As larvae they look like sticks and blend into the trees. As adults, they blend into the lichen fungi that grow on trees. Peppermoths never live for more than a year. These are just some of the facts I learned.

I also learned a lot about evolution in this species. I found it very fascinating that the species evolved in only around two hundred years. The black color, which they evolved into, started as a mutation. In the dark forests, the darker moths lived longer and created more offspring. The gene for the black trait was passed on. This process repeated itself over and over again.

Now, the moths are turning lighter again. Since humans started taking action for the environment, the forests are getting cleaner, and causing the moths to change. It is very cool and surprising that our efforts are actually doing something.

Jan Stra├čer said...

I learned that peppered moths have a veriety of techniques for avoiding predators, such as the light camoflauge on their wings. However, I also learned about their ability to adapt: during the industrial revolution, there was a lot of pollution, and at the same time, the moths' white colour was ill-fitted for polluted forests. Therefore, the moths simply evolved to have a dark colour instead. When people started to cut back on pollution, on the other hand, the moths simply changed back to their white colour again.

ktcoolio said...

I learned a lot of information from this website, about peppered moths and evolution in general.
I learned that peppered moths do a great job of evolving and adapting to their environment as it changes. It was very interesting how the forest got darker because of the pollution. I can see this being a serious problem, because it made the light moths easier for birds to hunt. Basically, if the moth's wings didn't get darker, their species would go extinct. It's interesting to me why some moths became black and some stayed white. I think this is because some moths still lived in clean forests, so they needed to be lighter.
This website also taught me about evolution in general. This species is a great example of successful evolution, because there was a change in it's environment and they responded to it by developing darker wings to blend in with the darker forest.
The website itself was interesting because it was very interactive and I liked the game, because no matter how hard I tried to catch the dark and light moths equally, in the end I always got more light moths. In real life, birds would just eat whatever they could hunt easier which would obviously be the light moths.

germsareicky830 said...

I really liked this article. It was very informational is a way that didn’t bore us. I like stuff like this that has a bunch of different slides of useful information other than reading a long article with small words and half the stuff in it you don’t really need to know. This article helped me understand evolution better. Even though pollution is bad for the environment, we kind of helped the moths so that they can live in the dark forests without getting eaten. I really liked the game they had at the end to play from a bird’s point of view and shows how the two different colored moths blend in with the different forests.

RNGRSofNY said...

I liked this website. This pepper moth site was a nice way to back up what we already knew about evolution and learn about a new pretty interesting species, the pepper moth. Although, it was interesting to know more about how as humans, our actions (such as pollution) provoke evolution. Also, I know about a new interesting moth. They camouflage themselves and then when our pollution affects them, they evolve to adapt to the new polluted environment. They also started off a light color, then a mutation came around, and it was that the moth was dark colored. It ended up working out better for the moth when it was a dark color, so they evolved. They evolved extremely fast, two hundred years. It took humans millions and millions of years to evolve, it took them two hundred.

abcd said...

I really liked the website I thought it was really interesting. One of the things that I liked was that it was really easy to navigate it flowed really well from each point to the next. Also, I thought that the game really drove the point home how much easier it is to see the black moth or the white moth in their environments. As well, I liked how they touched on every aspect of the moth; the life cycle of the moth, the affect that pollution had on the moth and the discovery of the reasoning behind their change.

offthelist 818 said...

The web site was useful I liked how it talked about something that I would now. I found out that the moth can have mutations quickly because its life span is very short. I found out that humans can have an act in evolution. I found the website was useful to talk about how the moth evolved due to human pollution in the world. I thought it was fascinating how the moth was well camouflage even when it’s a larva. I learnt a lot about how the scientist learnt how the moths evolved.

madnerd44 said...

I thought this was a really fun and easy way to learn, and all though it was easy to get through I still learned way more than I thought I would. First of all I thought that it was amazing the way the moths were able to camouflage, at first I didn’t see the moth. I can’t even imagine being a predator, if I had not been looking so closely I never would have seen it. The larva was also extremely hard to recognize, even harder than the moth itself. I wonder how long it took for those moths to evolve in to the perfect organism for where they live. Imagine how long it took to not only get the color exactly right but also the senses and things you need to find food at night.

Then I followed the correct order and went to the impact of pollution part of the site, and I was astonished. Usually evolution takes millions of years and sometimes even more time. So what amazed me was the fact it took these moths virtually no time in the terms of evolution to completely change the whole species. Not only that but I was surprised that the smoke could change the genetic code and then make the black color hereditary. Also I might want to look more deeply in to how an animal or organism actually evolves, because I was surprised that one moth could change the whole population. Soon enough, another question came in to my mind, how was the food chain affected when for probably ten years predators were able to eat all the moths they could find. This part also scarred me because it is to much power for humans to be able to affect some organisms evolution in an almost infinite way. What I mean by this is basically what could have taken nature millions of years to change, took us fifty.

Next I looked at Dr. Kettlewell’s experiment to prove the theory that dark moths were more fit to survive in their environment. This basically proved what I thought was true (that natural selection was the cause of the up rise of black moths.) It makes sense after looking at his experiment because why else would the population of black moths be so high in only the dark polluted forests. I think his experiment was important but rather simple because what he proved is basically common sense.

Then after reading all of the passages I got to play the game. I thought the game was fun, but for me it was just a fun way to enforce the fact that natural selection played such a huge part in the evolution of the peppered moths.

madnerd44 said...

I thought this was a really fun and easy way to learn, and all though it was easy to get through I still learned way more than I thought I would. First of all I thought that it was amazing the way the moths were able to camouflage, at first I didn’t see the moth. I can’t even imagine being a predator, if I had not been looking so closely I never would have seen it. The larva was also extremely hard to recognize, even harder than the moth itself. I wonder how long it took for those moths to evolve in to the perfect organism for where they live. Imagine how long it took to not only get the color exactly right but also the senses and things you need to find food at night.

Then I followed the correct order and went to the impact of pollution part of the site, and I was astonished. Usually evolution takes millions of years and sometimes even more time. So what amazed me was the fact it took these moths virtually no time in the terms of evolution to completely change the whole species. Not only that but I was surprised that the smoke could change the genetic code and then make the black color hereditary. Also I might want to look more deeply in to how an animal or organism actually evolves, because I was surprised that one moth could change the whole population. Soon enough, another question came in to my mind, how was the food chain affected when for probably ten years predators were able to eat all the moths they could find. This part also scarred me because it is to much power for humans to be able to affect some organisms evolution in an almost infinite way. What I mean by this is basically what could have taken nature millions of years to change, took us fifty.

Next I looked at Dr. Kettlewell’s experiment to prove the theory that dark moths were more fit to survive in their environment. This basically proved what I thought was true (that natural selection was the cause of the up rise of black moths.) It makes sense after looking at his experiment because why else would the population of black moths be so high in only the dark polluted forests. I think his experiment was important but rather simple because what he proved is basically common sense.

Then after reading all of the passages I got to play the game. I thought the game was fun, but for me it was just a fun way to enforce the fact that natural selection played such a huge part in the evolution of the peppered moths.

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