FinchPaper - Introduction Charles Darwin is one of the most...

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Introduction Charles Darwin is one of the most well-known biologists to this day. He is known for his theory of evolution by natural selection. Over the years he has researched, explored and organized data to prove his discoveries. One of his major studies was the study of the Galapagos finches on the small island Daphne Major. This study became a major theme in his books. In his chapter Galapagos in his book Voyage of The Beagle, describing his journey, has a lot of insight on his discoveries of these Galapagos Finches (Frasier, 2001). This island, Daphne Major, is one of the Galapagos Islands and is known for only having two seasons, a wet season lasting from January to June and a dry season lasting from July to December (Frasier, 2001). The wet season is usually slightly warmer in temperature than the dry season (Frasier, 2001). There are thirteen different species of the Galapagos Finches (Terraquest, 1996). The common similarity between these birds is their bill color (Terraquest, 1996). Depending on their ability to breed their bills change colors, those who are able to breed have black bills while those who are not ready to breed have yellow (Terraquest, 1996). Of these thirteen species, there are four groups of finches, Ground finches, Tree finches, Cactus finches and other finches. All of the species differ in food preference, size, shape, location and beak size (Terraquest, 1996). There are many different types of finches and these different characteristics of the finches determine their different diet habits. Due to their different sizes and beak texture and size, there are different niches and realized niches for each species of finch. The niche is all the resources that are available to the finch, while the realized niche is the amount of resources actually utilized by the finches. There are many different resources
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available to the different finches, but only some can be eaten by certain finches. The birds with large, hard beaks are more capable of eating larger food; where as the small beaked birds can eat small, soft seeds. The range of food that each finch can eat varies depending on species and size. There are four types on plants on the island Daphne Major, which produces four different sized seeds that allow the different sized finches to have a variety of choice in order to survive. The first plant is the Portulaca. This plant has think and fleshy stems and grows on small rocky islands. It contains leaves up to three centimeters long with large flowers up to four centimeters wide when open. The seeds are soft and about one millimeter in length, which allow for the finches with small and medium beaks to eat. The second plant or shrub is the Chamae. The stems of this plant are three to six millimeters thick with rough, thorny, dark leaves. The flowers grow in bunches and the seeds have a sticky coating. These seeds are also very small and have a soft texture allowing for the smallest birds to eat. These seeds are the rarest on the island of Daphne
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FinchPaper - Introduction Charles Darwin is one of the most...

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