Taylor Lockwood Mr.

Bania AP Biology September 20, 2010 Survival of the Fittest In a scientific observation, three species of leaf-eating beetles inhabit an isolated island on the Pacific Ocean. Through published observations and fossil records two of the species, species A and B, co-existed on the island before the introduction of the third species. This new species, species C, has impacted the population size of the other two species. Through graphs and close monitoring the pattern of the population density is apparent. Since the introduction of species C the population density of said species had an exponential growth curve. When species C first immigrated onto the island the population density of species C was very low. This pattern continued until around 1979. At this time the population of species C beetles boomed. This J-shaped curve may have occurred for a number of reasons. Lack of hindrances or predators may have caused the boom in population. It is also plausible that the species relocated to another part of the island where unlimited resources were at their disposal. Another possibility is if all of the beetles of species C lived in a compacted area the probability of competition for resources would have been very high. Where as, if each member had enough room to thrive the rate of competition would fall and the population density would rise. With the introduction of species C into the environment, species A and B’s

species B began to decline at the same rate that species C began to rise. Because of the increasing population density of species C it can be predicted the population density will be 40 beetles/m2 in 2014. This boom in species C did not affect species A.population density was affected. Because of the dramatic change in population density it can be assumed that species C invaded the niche of species B. After establishing themselves in the new environment it has been Lockwood 2 . If the species does not do either they are eliminated from the habitat. Over time one population will replace the other and the remaining species must evolve to maintain their niche or evolve to inhabit another. Invasive species like species C are successful when colonizing new habitats. Since 1974 the beetles of species C have grown at about 5 beetles/m2 every ten years. By invading another species habitat that does have natural predators the invasive species can become well established in the environment. By inhabiting the niche of species B species C created an environment of competition. However. The population density of species A and B remained unaffected until the exponential growth of species C. Therefore is can be predicted that in 2014 the beetle population of species C will be at 40 beetles/ m2. The pattern of species B proposes that species B did not adapt because they are quickly diminishing. The competitive exclusion principle states that no two species can occupy the same niche at the same time. This can be predicted due to the rate at which the beetles are growing currently. This is because they are not native to the area therefore they have no natural predators to hunt them and lower their population density. This competition left both species with only one option “adapt or die”. this pattern proposes that species C did not invade the niche of species A. In 2004 the beetle population of species C was at 30 beetles/m2.

This is because it is not their natural environment so they need to adapt quickly so the species can continue to survive in the foreign environment. Lockwood 3 . species C vs. After the species evolves they are better equipped to handle the environment than some of the native species. species B).scientifically proven that invasive species will evolve rapidly to fit the new environment. This results in competition between the two species and it is more likely the non-native species will survive (e.c.

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