Friday, December 5, 2008

Prey defenses & Pop. dynamics

Other prompts given to us by Dr. Baines included the following: “Distinguish between Batesian and Mullerian mimicry and provide an example of each. Describe and provide examples of TWO additional prey defenses against predators.” I wrote, “Batesian mimicry occurs when non-toxic species adapt the colorations of toxic species in order to prevent being preyed upon. An example would be the nontoxic King Snake adapting similar colorations (red-yellow-black striping) to those of a toxic snake species (Coral Snake). Mullerian mimicry occurs when all those species which are toxic appear or adapt to have similar colorations and warn predators that they are all venomous (may be harmful or even a deadly species). An example of this would be toxic wasps or caterpillars all having similar banding patterns along their bodies. Another example of prey defense would be the Behavioral defense of certain frogs who puff up and wail loudly to deter their predators to back away. Also, the body armor of armadillos would be an example of such kind of defense.
She also wanted us to write about this prompt: “Calculate the net reproductive rate [by looking at a table I will explain shortly]. Is the population increasing or decreasing in size? Why? Explain what this means biologically.” The table she referred to in the question contained the values for the variables needed to calculate the net reproductive rate for a population containing three cohorts. I calculated the net reproductive rate to be 0.80 and explained the significance of the value by writing the following: “Population is decreasing in size because since this value is less than one, females are not having enough offspring to even at least replace themselves within the population. Therefore, since no replacement is occurring, ultimately this results in a decrease in population size.”

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