Science | Adaptations to New Environments

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Adaptations to New Environments

Print the image of a common rat. Study its visible traits.


Read the descriptions of the four islands presented on the next page.


In your Science Notebook, list the (new) traits—or draw a picture—of a new species of rat that
might adapt to the conditions on each island.


If time allows, introduce one of the four new rat species to another island and describe its
challenges and successes as it adapts to its new environment.

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Science | Adaptations to New Environments

Island A
The island is fairly flat with an occasional hill. The ground is soft dirt, and several species of shrubs
grow toward the center of the island. There is no animal life on land, but the water around the island is
teeming with fish. The island is surrounded by a coral reef. The shore is sandy, with no algae growing
on it. Freshwater is available.

Island B
The island has a rocky shoreline. Numerous tide pools dot the island along the shore, where the
wave action is somewhat sheltered by rocky outcrops. The tide pools host barnacles, abalone, sea
urchins, and crabs. Algae grow all around the island; however, the growth of algae is quite sparse in
the tide pools where the various animals feed. The current is quite strong along the rocky outcrops
where the algae grow best. Freshwater is available.

Island C
The island is somewhat barren. A few species of cactus thrive on the bare rocks. A large, cactuseating tortoise inhabits the island. A species of very large birds nests on the island annually. The
birds build their nests on the rocks and protect their eggs from the sun by standing over the nests
with outspread wings. The nests are always found on the windy side of the island, which is somewhat
cooled by offshore...