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Island Frogs

Author(s): James Burton Deemy

College of Coastal Georgia

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This is an exercise in island biogeography that allows students to reconstruct splits in the evolutionary history of several hypothetical frog species.


In this exercise students will think through the most logical speciation pathway from an initial [extinct] colonizing species to the [extant] currently observed species. Students are provided a table species and their traits as well as information on whether the species is extinct or not. The student takes on the role of a biologist deducing the speciation pathway from the fossil record and current observations. This active learning exercise takes approximately 45 minutes in a non-science major introductory level courses but could be easily adapted to a shorter upper division science majors course or introductory level non-science majors course. Prior assigned readings as well as a short overview of speciation and island biogeography tend to aid students in the assignment (especially in a non-majors course).

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