My students and I are in the midst of UCSB's 4-week intensive Science and Engineering Research Academy. In our course, we are discussing mechanisms of evolution, and how the diversity of life on Earth has come to be.
On Thursday, we went down to the Santa Barbara Zoo to explore the unique adaptations many animals possess. As an assignment, the students selected animals at risk of extinction and were asked to discuss the animal's role in its ecosystem, and also, what that ecosystem would look like if these animals disappear.
Here are some of the animals we saw!