As the environment changes, will species be able to adapt? By conducting experiments in natural environments, biologists can study how evolutionary processes such as natural selection operate through time. We predicted that the introduction of a terrestrial predator would first select for longer-legged lizards, which are faster, but as the lizards shifted onto high twigs to avoid the predator, selection would reverse toward favoring the shorter-legged individuals better able to locomote there. Our experimental studies on 12 islets confirmed these predictions within a single generation, thus demonstrating the rapidity with which evolutionary forces can change during times of environmental flux.
Losos, Jonathan BSchoener, Thomas WLangerhans, R BrianSpiller, David AengResearch Support, Non-U.S. Gov'tResearch Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.New York, N.Y.2006/11/18 09:00Science. 2006 Nov 17;314(5802):1111.