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Students investigate the process of adaptation by natural selection by manipulating various parameters of a bird species, such as initial mean beak size, variability, heritability, and population size, and various parameters of the environment such as precipitation and island size. This lab can be used to investigate evolutionary principles such as directional, disruptive and balancing selection, the dependence of natural selection on the variability and heritability of a trait, founder effects, genetic drift, and extinction.