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Measuring evolution: peppered moths

Faculty Advisor




evolution, Hardy-Weinberg, null hypothesis, peppered moth

Abstract (summary)

This lab was designed to be done by students asynchronously using two websites that each differently illustrate the classic natural selection example of the peppered moth. The learning outcomes for this lab are to experience natural selection through the first simulation, to use Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium as a null hypothesis for populations at specific times and evaluate if populations have experienced evolution (significant changes in allele frequencies) over time using the second model. While a peppered moth simulation was available on the NetLogoWeb site, it did not accurately represent the population or genetics of the moths as it used asexual reproduction. We modified the program to accurately simulate the population and provide students with a more realistic representation of these difficult evolutionary processes. Qualitative feedback from students indicated that they felt they learned a lot from this activity.

Publication Information

Randi L. Mewhort and Doug Mewhort. 2022. Measuring Evolution: Peppered Moths. Article 12 In: Boone E and Thuecks S, eds. Advances in biology laboratory education. Volume 42. Publication of the 42nd Conference of the Association for Biology Laboratory Education (ABLE).


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