How does the Evolution MegaLab work out if evolution has occurred?
We use a Chi Square test to compare the counts of snails of the main types in the historical sample with the sample that you have submitted. The feedback in the e-mail you receive is based upon whether this test finds a significant (p < 0.05) change or not. Note that one out of 20 (or 5%) of samples can be expected to be 'significant' at the p < 0.05 level just by chance. For this reason we offer a cautiously worded interpretation of all data. Of course the final study using all the data will be statistically much more sophisticated.
Why does my feedback e-mail say the sample size was too small to make a comparison with an historical sample?
To conduct a valid chi square test we need at least five snails of each type in the table of expected numbers. If either the historical or the new sample (or both) are too small, this may not happen and no test can be made.
How does the Evolution MegaLab work out which historical sample to compare with my sample?
We look for the nearest historical sample made within a radius of 5 km of yours. The two samples must have been made in the same kind of habitat.
What will happen to all the data collected by the Evolution MegaLab?
The Cepaea data that you provide us with will become part of the dataset that will be used in a scientific study. These data will be shared with other scientists and quite possibly posted on the Internet when the study is complete, but no personal data will be kept in this dataset. Your sample(s) will be anonymous.
How secure are the personal data I provided at registration?
We ask only for a valid e-mail address, a username and a password. The password is secure and your e-mail address and username will not be shared with anyone who is not directly involved with running the website. We will only use your e-mail address to contact you in connection with the MegaLab.