Lizards in Hurricanes
This activity explores images of anole lizards subjected to strong winds, which serve as phenomena for learning about natural selection and the impacts of extreme climate events.
Extreme climate events, such as hurricanes, can select for certain traits. To investigate this phenomenon, scientists placed anoles on wooden rods, then turned on a leaf blower to simulate hurricane-force winds. They slowly increased the wind speed until each anole let go of its rod and landed, unharmed, in a nearby net. The image contains snapshots from the scientists’ experiment for five different anoles (labeled Lizards A–E).
The “Educator Materials” document includes background information and implementation suggestions for using the images as phenomena. The “Student Handout” includes the images and background information.
Student Learning Targets
- Examine images of phenomena, make observations, and ask questions.
- Collaborate with peers on ideas, ask questions that require higher levels of reasoning, and develop deeper understanding of concepts.
- Describe how extreme climate events, such as storms, can drive natural selection in populations
adaptation, Anolis, anole, extreme climate event, limb length, wind speed, toepad
Donihue, Colin M., Anthony Herrel, Anne-Claire Fabre, Ambika Kamath, Anthony J. Geneva, Thomas W. Schoener, Jason J. Kolbe, and Jonathan B. Losos. “Hurricane-induced selection on the morphology of an island lizard.” Science 560, 7716 (2018): 88–91. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-018-0352-3.
HS-LS4-4, HS-LS4-5; SEP1
EVO-1.E, EVO-1.G, EVO-3.A; SP3
Topic(s): 2.4, 2.6
Learning Objectives & Practices: ERT-2.F, ERT-2.H, SP2