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Egg size plasticity in bean beetles (Callosobruchus maculatus): Does host bean species matter?

In this exercise, students design a series of experiments (1) to test whether female bean beetles adjust the size of their eggs on different host bean species and (2) to determine whether differences in egg size based on host bean species are optimal. Most often, students design experiments in which different females are allowed to lay eggs on different bean species that vary in nutritional quality. After approximately 6 weeks, students measure egg size, female body size, and emergence success of offspring. Experimental design and initial setup require one laboratory period. Data collection requires 1-2 laboratory periods depending on the number of eggs measured. In class, students discuss approaches to data analysis and analyze their data. Outside of class, they write a scientific paper based on their results in the format of Ecology.
Primary or BEN resource type
Secondary resource type
General Biology Core Concepts
Discipline Specific Core Concepts
Life science discipline (subject)
Keywords Egg size, phenotypic plasticity, evolution, adaptations, life history
Intended End User Role
Educational Language
Pedagogical Use Description Each student prepares a written scientific paper in the style of Ecology based on
the pooled data from the entire class. If different laboratory groups develop and
implement different experimental designs, groups could present posters or oral
presentations to the rest of the class.
Primary Author Controlled Name
Primary Author Affiliation Department of Biology, Emory University, Atlant
Primary Author email
Rights TIEE, Volume 11 © 2016 - Christopher W. Beck, Lawrence S. Blumer, and the Ecological Society of America - Copyright Statement
Teaching Issues and Experiments in Ecology (TIEE) is a project of the Committee on Diversity and Education of the Ecological Society of America.
This page was originally published on 23 August 2016 and was last revised 23 August 2016.
Date Of Record Submission 2017-11-27

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