Games and Exercises:
Background information on how animal coloration works and evolves in nature.
2. Protective colouration game (20-30 minutes). Students will participate for an ‘experiment’ as predators which will (in most of the cases) demonstrate the avoidance learning of warningly coloured prey items. By analysing results together you can also demonstrate how scientific information is produced (data collection and data analysis).
3. Simulations for the evolution of protective colouration. With this simple simulation provided us by Santtu Tikka from the Department of Statistics (University of Jyväskylä), students can use the mortality numbers from their game to try out how frequencies of warningly coloured and camouflaged prey items would change across generations. It is also possible to add complexity for the system by making e.g. aposematic strategy more costly to produce and maintain and then see how it affects the frequency of aposematic and camouflaged prey genotypes.
4. Sensory signals
In this outdoors exercise you observe sensory information in the environment. What kind of signals the environment delivers to you? Which colours, shapes, smells or sounds attract you, and which ones you turn away from?
5. Strange creatures club
Create your own imaginary plant or creature, that uses either protective or warning colours against predators. Who does it want to protect itself from, or who does it want to attract?