Research Article

The predator-prey game: Revisiting industrial melanism and optimal foraging theory outdoors with biology undergraduates

Shem Unger 1 * , Mark Rollins 1 , Noah Dyer 1
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1 Wingate University, Wingate, NC, USA* Corresponding Author
Eurasian Journal of Science and Environmental Education, 3(2), December 2023, 67-74, https://doi.org/10.30935/ejsee/13511
Published: 31 July 2023
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ABSTRACT

Teaching natural selection and adaptations in undergraduate biology classrooms is often undertaken with the example of the Biston peppered moth, a well-documented case of industrial melanism. However, the idea of optimal foraging theory, a behavioral ecological model that includes predators searching for prey, may be overlooked when teaching this classic example of natural selection and predator/prey dynamics. To this end, we developed a simulated predator/prey activity to teach both of these concepts using different size and color toy lizards, moths, and snakes as part of an outdoor laboratory. Students overwhelmingly viewed the laboratory as an engaging way to learn about natural selection (100%, n=115), and how predators forage (Likert median score=5, n=115). We recommend biology instructors across science academic levels (high school and college) incorporate or modify this activity for student-based data collection, as it concomitantly engages undergraduates while providing a hands-on approach to biological and evolutionary theory of natural selection.

CITATION (APA)

Unger, S., Rollins, M., & Dyer, N. (2023). The predator-prey game: Revisiting industrial melanism and optimal foraging theory outdoors with biology undergraduates. Eurasian Journal of Science and Environmental Education, 3(2), 67-74. https://doi.org/10.30935/ejsee/13511

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