"Natural Selection" is a one of many population biology simulations provided by Kent Holsinger at http://darwin.eeb.uconn.edu/simulations/simulations.html This simulation is particularly useful for instructors and students who want to show how allele frequencies change over time in response to natural selection on diploid genotypes. Users may select from five different fitnesses (0.8, 0.9, 1.0, 1.1, 1.2) for each of the three genotypes for a single hypothetical gene locus. The number of generations is fixed at 100. Results from up to eight different iterations are displayed simultaneously in different colors. This site provides a simple and straightforward graphical representation that can be used in the classroom.
Target Student Population:
High School and all College Levels
Type of Material:
HTML and Java Applet
Evaluation and Observation
Quality of content: (3.0) (3.8) = 3.4
Clearly laid out
Instructions are adequate, although there should be an explanation of which model the simulation supports
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
Potential effectiveness as teaching tool: (5.0) (3.5) = 4.3
Demonstrates relationships of allele frequencies and selection
Different fitnesses allow comparison of simulations
Possible to make assignments for students
Faculty will need to provide background information in class
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
Usability: (3.0) (4.5) = 3.8
Instructions are accurate
No defective Links
No major bugs
Features of Excellence:
Allows rapid sequence of trials with changes in variables
Very simple and straightforward simulation for natural selection
Nice use of superimposed simulations for the eight possible plots
A link describing the model supported by the simulation and the calculations involved would provide students with better application of learning materials.
This is a very simple and fast site for showing variations in natural selection. It is a good place to start for students wanting a simple and straightforward presentation of the topic.
The graphics could be made a little more engaging with animations to accompany graphical representations such as colored dots or actual icons of organisms showing the selection progress.
It is recommended that the author sub
mit the larger site on population biology simulations to http://www.merlot.org for a more complete review of learning materials available on the internet.