Many invasive species do not start to invade as soon as they are introduced into a new area; there is a “lag time” in most invasions where scientists predict they are evolving to their new habitat and waiting for beneficial genes to arrive, either through mutation or further introductions of new individuals from their native range. Through an interactive game, students will learn how evolution might create an invasive species. The game demonstrates the basic components of evolution (variation and selection) and how they can cause an introduced species to become invasive and out-compete native species.
At the conclusion of the lesson, students will be able to understand the basic concepts of evolution and biological invasions including:
- Evolution by natural selection
- Three factors required for evolution by natural selection to occur (variation in trait, fitness differences, inheritance)
- Source of variation (mutation, recombination and migration) and how these differ between native and invasive species
- The definition of an invasive species
- How evolution by natural selection can facilitate an invasive species
Lesson plan and game created by GK-12 Fellows Tomomi Suwa & Elizabeth Schultheis and Teacher in Residence Marcia Angle, 2012