Los Angeles Pierce College Biology Worksheet

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read pages 379-382 to refresh yourself on the fish choice experiment.


Then, read my explanation of sexual selection:

Sexual selection is a type of natural selection that occurs due to variation in mating success. For example, have you ever wondered why birds-of-paradise (or many other birds) are brightly colored? And why is it typically only the male birds that are so colorful? The male birds court the female birds through color, unique morphological features, songs, and dances. Males that display elaborate versions of these qualities are more desirable to a female, because this informs the female that he is healthy, strong, and intelligent. Essentially, he is persuading the female that his genes are the most desirable. Thus, the males with the most extravagant features are chosen as mates and these traits for bright coloration or elaborate morphological features (or behavior) are  passed on to offspring. Consequently, these traits become more frequent within the population. Over time, as these traits are selected for over and over again, the features become more and more exaggerated, even as they begin to interfere with survival (think conspicuous colors that prevent camouflage or large tail feathers that interfere with flight). 

The concept of sexual selection gives us some background on our experiment.  In our experiment last week, we assessed mate choice in guppies. More specifically, we tested whether females would prefer males with large, showy fins over males with small fins, and whether males would choose larger females over smaller females. 

Here is our data:

(attached photo)

In excel, calculate the mean, standard deviation, sample size, and standard error, as well as confidence intervals, for male and female mate choices. Graph the two means and add custom error bars to those means using the confidence interval values, and include a figure caption. Additionally, please answer the following questions in a textbox within your excel sheet:

  1. What did you hypothesize before the start of the experiment?
  2. Does the data provide evidence to support your hypothesis or hypotheses? Explain (In other words, interpret your graph). 
  3. Could the experimental design be improved? How so? Is our data reliable? 
  4. How does this experiment using guppies relate to the concept of sexual selection? 

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