Naturalist Perspectives Challenge: Genetics in the Landscape

red-tailed_hawk_buteo_jamaicensis_full_body_1880pxNow that we’ve begun to discuss genetics, this challenge will apply some of the concepts in this part of the course to the places you’ve been visiting. To work on this challenge, please follow these directions:

  1. Visit your Site Alpha, Beta or Gamma, then pick and observe an organism. Any organism will do.
  2. Identify (ID) the species as best you can using a field guide; book, app, website, etc. are all fine, but be sure mention what field guide you used when you write your blog post in step 4.
  3. Now that you know the specific species you’ve been looking at, do a little research about its genetic makeup and find out…
    • How many chromosomes does it have? How many sets of chromosomes does it have? Is it diploid like us?
    • Is there a gene that is responsible for a particular trait? For example, does a single gene impact the color of an individual of this species?
    • If possible, go a little further and find out if specific alleles of a gene are known to produce a certain phenotype. For example, within a single species of bird (such as red-tailed hawks), there may be some some individuals who appear darker (called dark morphs), and this is due to the melanic gene allele these individuals have.
  4. Summarize your work for steps 2 and 3 in a blog post.

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