Oh Deer!

[caption id="attachment_1395" align="alignleft" width="300"]By jonnnnn By jonnnnn[/caption]

You're a deer! You're a wolf! You're Water! You're Food! Thus began AP Biology's Oh Deer population simulation. This little gem of an activity is an APES classic (Google it, you'll find it). Basically students are divided into deer and resources. Deer search for resources. If they get a resource they live and reproduce. If they don't get a resource they die. At some point we added in wolves as predators. Through 20 "generations" I recorded population data as the students ran back and forth across a field. Back in the classroom we graphed and interpreted the data. The correlation between resources and population was clearly visible, but the biggest surprise for everyone was the effect of wolves. In the real world we know that keystone species stabilize the diversity of an ecosystem. Our little situation actually bore this out. While deer and resources fluctuated wildly without the wolves, equilibrium appeared with the introduction of the wolves. It was really interesting to see and demonstrate via modeling what happens in a real ecosystem.

Asia and Amayrani were responsible for reporting on the week of 4/8-4/12. I hope that you enjoy their account of the above events.

Asia Begins:

On Monday, we completed an activity called Oh Deer! in which we simulated the relationships between deer and resources such as food, water, and shelter.  It was more like a competition activity and it was really fun. Many different students were resources and the deer had to run from the other end of the hill to beat the others to the resources which may have been limited with about 1 or 2 representing food with about 8 deer at the bottom of the hill.  I learn best with activities and this really helped me.  We introduced wolves in year 11 out of 20 and it had a dramatic effect on our data and we had to reset  a couple of times in order to continue with our activity. On Wednesday it was quite eventful again, Mr. Kite told  us to create skits.  My group decided to create a skit based on predation.  Along with predation comes the terms, cryptic coloration, aposematic coloration, and mimicry.  cryptic coloration is basically camouflage, aposematic is bright colors that turns off the predator and mimicry is when an animal makes a sound like a harmful animal and scares off the mammal.  Thursday was a pretty relaxing and since half of our class was gone, we watched a short video about keystone species and afterwards we were allowed to catch up on AP Biology Videos, finish our lab, or work on our 4th quarter project.  Friday we were supposed to look up the succession of the local Duke Forest, but to our surprise, it was already online therefore eliminating the work that we had to do. We then did a few comprehension questions to wrap it up.  Afterwards we were given time to work on other Biology work.  This week was overall very relaxing, not much to stress about

Amayrani Concludes:

We started off the week by using beads to    represent exponential growth and logistic growth of  populations over time and how or what causes them to  level out. We were also given the opportunity to obtain  extra credit if we could successfully demonstrate how  exponential growth actually balances out. Fortunately  my group and I were able to represent this so we got  extra credit. Yay! We transitioned into actually being  part of an ecosystem I guess you could say the next day.  On Tuesday our class was to go outside and we acted out  a skit. Some of us were deers and others were resources.  The purpose of starting off this way was to show the r  relationship amongst deers and resources such as  water, food, shelter. We noticed that as the amount of  deers increased the resources depleted and eventually the deers had no resources and eventually became resources in our skit. However realistically speaking since the deers ran out of resources there would be no more deers because they would die off. We did 5 rounds if I’m not wrong to show this relationship. In the 6th round Mr.Kite introduced a predator into our ecosystem, the wolf. The introduction of this key species brought good results. The wolves helped balanced out deers with resources however as we all know the wolves began to eat most of the deers. The class then came inside and we made graphs to show the relationship between wolves,deers, and resources. Our week continued by our class being divided into groups and we did skits to represent commensalism,mutualism,competition,predation and prey, and parasitic relationships amongst organisms and plants. For example, my group had commensalism between wolves and lions. That was pretty interesting. According to Mr.Kite the class’s presentations keep impressing. Our week came to and end by working our labs that were due Friday and we also watched a video on the effects that a keystone species introduction ha don many animals, environments, and habitats in Yellow Stone National Park and we also had the opportunity to catch up on what we were behind in class.