THEORY OF EVOLUTION THE EVOLUTION OF SPECIES Species = a group of organisms that look alike and have the ability to interbreed and produce fertile offspring in nature. Speciation = evolution of a new species Can occur only when either interbreeding or the production of fertile offspring is somehow prevented. GEOGRAPHIC ISOLATION = a physical barrier separates a population into groups Physical barriers can prevent interbreeding Tree frogs in dense rainforest of Amazon Basin Over time, periodic droughts begin to break up stretches of continuous forest into smaller patches. Separating the original tree frog population into smaller groups Other environmental factors cause shifts in local river courses that further isolate In the natural world, physical barriers frequently form and break up large populations into smaller ones. Volcanic eruptions cause lava flows Sea-level changes along continental shelves (New Guinea) create island environments with water barriers. If small populations of tree frogs were geographically isolated by deforestation, they could no longer be able to interbreed and gene exchange would cease. Over time, each small population would adapt to the local environment through the process of natural selection. Eventually, gene pools of each group become so different that one would be considered a new species. REPRODUCTIVE ISOLATION = when formerly interbreeding organisms are prevented from producing fertile offspring. Geographic isolation can lead to differences in mating behavior Gene pools are closed Genetic material is not exchanged between the groups Over time, as populations become more and more distant, reproductive isolation can arise. Many types. One type: occurs when genetic material becomes to different that mistakes happen during development of zygote, if zygote forms at all. Another: one frog evolves mating in fall and the other in spring POLYPLOID SPECIATION = any species with any multiple of the normal set of chromosomes Speciation can occur when chromosome numbers change Geographical isolation is not the only factor Plants in same geographical area = polyploids Mistake occurs during meiosis Fastest form of speciation because reproductive isolation is instantaneous (one generation) Estimate nearly half known flowering plants Wheat, cotton, apples and bananas GRADUALISM = idea that species originates through a gradual buildup of new adaptation Speciation can occur quickly or slowly Darwin argued evolution proceeds at a slow, steady rate and that small, adaptive changes gradually accumulate over time in populations. Supported in fossil record: camel and horse PUNCTUATED EQUILIBRIUM = speciation occurs quickly in rapid bursts with long periods of stability in between 1971 another hypothesis When environmental conditions change, such as warmer temperatures or introduction of a new competitive species = rapid Interrupting or punctuating genetic equilibrium New species form in 10,000 years or less PATTERNS OF EVOLUTION Add further evidence to Natural Selection Species diversify when introduced to new environment ADAPTIVE RADIATION = process of evolution of an ancestral species into an array of species that occupy different niches. Hawaiian Islands = diversity of plants and animals not seen elsewhere Hawaiian Honeycreepers Similar in body size and shape Differ in plumage color and beak shape (most important) Each species occupies its own niche and beak to the type of food it eats Evolved from single common ancestor that invaded Hawaii long ago Darwin’s finches in the Galapagos 300 varieties of cichlid fish in Lake Victoria, Africa DIVERGENT EVOLUTION VS. CONVERGENT EVOLUTION Divergent = pattern of evolution in which species that once were all similar became more and more distinct. Occurs when species begin to adapt to different environmental conditions and to change, becoming less and less alike. Convergent = pattern of evolution in which distantly related organisms evolve similar traits. Dolphin and fish body shape similar Both are vertebrates, but not closely related Occurs when unrelated organisms occupy similar environments and face similar selection pressures. Streamline bodies needed for movement in water.