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Chapter 4

Evolution and
Biodiversity
Chapter Overview Questions
 How do scientists account for the
development of life on earth?
 What is biological evolution by natural
selection, and how can it account for the
current diversity of organisms on the earth?
 How can geologic processes, climate change
and catastrophes affect biological evolution?
 What is an ecological niche, and how does it
help a population adapt to changing the
environmental conditions?
Chapter Overview Questions (cont’d)
 How do extinction of species and formation
of new species affect biodiversity?
 What is the future of evolution, and what role
should humans play in this future?
 How did we become such a powerful species
in a short time?
Updates Online
The latest references for topics covered in this section can be found at
the book companion website. Log in to the book’s e-resources page at
www.thomsonedu.com to access InfoTrac articles.

 InfoTrac: Life After Earth: Imagining Survival Beyond This Terra
Firma. Richard Morgan. The New York Times, August 1, 2006
pF2(L).
 InfoTrac: Rhinos Clinging to Survival in the Heart of Borneo,
Despite Poaching. US Newswire, March 17, 2006.
 InfoTrac: Newfound Island Graveyard May Yield Clues to Dodo
Life of Long Ago. Carl Zimmer. The New York Times, July 4, 2006
pF3(L).
 NASA: Evolvable Systems
 American Museum of Natural History: Tree of Life
 PBS: Evolution
Video: Creation Vs. Evolution
 This video clip is available in CNN Today
Videos for Environmental Science, 2004,
Volume VII. Instructors, contact your local
sales representative to order this volume,
while supplies last.
Core Case Study
Earth: The Just-Right, Adaptable
Planet
 During the 3.7
billion years since
life arose, the
average surface
temperature of the
earth has remained
within the range of
10-20oC.
Figure 4-1
ORIGINS OF LIFE
 1 billion years of chemical change to form
the first cells, followed by about 3.7 billion
years of biological change.

Figure 4-2
Chemical Evolution Biological Evolution
(1 billion years) (3.7 billion years)

Formation Large Variety of
First Single-cell Single-cell
of the Small organic multicellular
protocells prokaryotes eukaryotes
earth’s organic molecules organisms
form in the form in form in
early molecules (biopolymers) form, first
seas the seas the seas
crust and form in form in in the seas
atmosphere the seas the seas and later
on land

Fig. 4-2, p. 84
Biological
Evolution

 This has led to
the variety of
species we
find on the
earth today.

Figure 4-2
Modern humans (Homo
sapiens sapiens) appear
about 2 seconds before
midnight
Age of Recorded human history
Age of
mammals begins about 1/4 second
reptiles before midnight
Insects and
amphibians
invade the Origin of life
land
(3.6-3.8 billion
years ago)

First fossil
record of
animals

Plants
begin
invading
land Evolution and
expansion of life

Fig. 4-3, p. 84
How Do We Know Which Organisms
Lived in the Past?

 Our knowledge
about past life
comes from fossils,
chemical analysis,
cores drilled out of
buried ice, and DNA
analysis.

Figure 4-4
EVOLUTION, NATURAL
SELECTION, AND ADAPTATION
 Biological evolution by natural selection
involves the change in a population’s genetic
makeup through successive generations.
 genetic variability
 Mutations: random changes in the structure or
number of DNA molecules in a cell that can be
inherited by offspring.
Natural Selection and Adaptation:
Leaving More Offspring With
Beneficial Traits
 Three conditions are necessary for biological
evolution:
 Genetic variability, traits must be heritable, trait
must lead to differential reproduction.
 An adaptive trait is any heritable trait that
enables an organism to survive through
natural selection and reproduce better under
prevailing environmental conditions.
Coevolution: A Biological Arms Race

 Interacting species can engage in a back and
forth genetic contest in which each gains a
temporary genetic advantage over the other.
 This often happens between predators and prey
species.
Hybridization and Gene Swapping:
other Ways to Exchange Genes
 New species can arise through hybridization.

Occurs when individuals to two distinct species
crossbreed to produce an fertile offspring.
 Some species (mostly microorganisms) can
exchange genes without sexual reproduction.

Horizontal gene transfer
Limits on Adaptation through
Natural Selection

 A population’s ability to adapt to new
environmental conditions through natural
selection is limited by its gene pool and how
fast it can reproduce.
 Humans have a relatively slow generation time
(decades) and output (# of young) versus some
other species.
Common Myths about Evolution
through Natural Selection
 Evolution through natural selection is about
the most descendants.

Organisms do not develop certain traits because
they need them.
 There is no such thing as genetic perfection.
GEOLOGIC PROCESSES, CLIMATE
CHANGE, CATASTROPHES, AND
EVOLUTION
 The movement of solid (tectonic) plates
making up the earth’s surface, volcanic
eruptions, and earthquakes can wipe out
existing species and help form new ones.
 The locations of continents and oceanic basins
influence climate.
 The movement of continents have allowed
species to move.
225 million years ago

225 million years ago 135 million years ago

65 million years ago Present

Fig. 4-5, p. 88
Climate Change and Natural
Selection
 Changes in climate throughout the earth’s
history have shifted where plants and
animals can live.

Figure 4-6
18,000 Northern Hemisphere Modern day
years before Ice coverage (August)
present

Note:
Modern
sea ice
coverage
represents
Legend summer
Continental ice months
Sea ice
Land above sea level

Fig. 4-6, p. 89
Catastrophes and Natural Selection

 Asteroids and meteorites hittingthe earth
and upheavals of the earth from geologic
processes have wiped out large numbers of
species and created evolutionary
opportunities by natural selection of new
species.
ECOLOGICAL NICHES AND
ADAPTATION

 Each species in an ecosystem has a specific
role or way of life.
 Fundamental niche: the full potential range of
physical, chemical, and biological conditions and
resources a species could theoretically use.
 Realized niche: to survive and avoid
competition, a species usually occupies only part
of its fundamental niche.
Generalist and Specialist Species:
Broad and Narrow Niches
 Generalist
species tolerate
a wide range of
conditions.
 Specialist
species can
only tolerate a
narrow range of
conditions.

Figure 4-7
Specialist species Generalist species
with a narrow niche with a broad niche
Niche
Number of individuals

separation

Niche
breadth

Region of
niche overlap

Resource use
Fig. 4-7, p. 91
SPOTLIGHT
Cockroaches: Nature’s Ultimate
Survivors
 350 million years old
 3,500 different species
 Ultimate generalist

Can eat almost anything.

Can live and breed almost
anywhere.

Can withstand massive
radiation.
Figure 4-A
Specialized Feeding Niches

 Resource partitioning reduces competition
and allows sharing of limited resources.

Figure 4-8
Avocet sweeps bill through
mud and surface water in
search of small crustaceans,
Ruddy
insects, and seeds
Herring gull is a turnstone
tireless scavenger searches
Brown pelican under shells
dives for fish, and pebbles
which it locates Dowitcher probes deeply for small
Black skimmer
from the air into mud in search of invertebrates
seizes small fish
at water surface snails, marine worms,
and small crustaceans

Louisiana heron wades into
water to seize small fish
Piping plover feeds
Flamingo Scaup and other Oystercatcher feeds on
on insects and tiny
feeds on diving ducks feed clams, mussels, and
crustaceans on
minute on mollusks, other shellfish into which
sandy beaches
organisms crustaceans,and it pries its narrow beak
in mud aquatic vegetation Knot (a sandpiper)
picks up worms and
small crustaceans left
by receding tide

(Birds not drawn to scale) Fig. 4-8, pp. 90-9
Evolutionary Divergence

 Each species has a
beak specialized to
take advantage of
certain types of
food resource.

Figure 4-9
Fruit and seed eaters Insect and nectar eaters

Greater Koa-finch

Kuai Akialaoa
Amakihi
Kona Grosbeak

Crested Honeycreeper
Akiapolaau

Maui Parrotbill Apapane

Unknown finch ancestor Fig. 4-9, p. 91
SPECIATION, EXTINCTION, AND
BIODIVERSITY
 Speciation: A new species can arise when
member of a population become isolated for
a long period of time.
 Genetic makeup changes, preventing them from
producing fertile offspring with the original
population if reunited.
Geographic Isolation

 …can lead to reproductive isolation,
divergence of gene pools and speciation.
Figure 4-10
Adapted to cold through
heavier fur,short ears, short
legs,short nose. White fur
matches snow for camouflage.
Arctic Fox

Northern
population
Spreads Different environmental
Early fox northward conditions lead to different
Population and southward selective pressures and
and separates evolution into two different
species.
Southern Adapted to
Population heat through
lightweight
fur and long
Gray Fox ears, legs,
and nose,
which give
off more
heat.

Fig. 4-10, p. 92
Extinction: Lights Out
 Extinction occurs
when the
population
cannot adapt to
changing
environmental
conditions.
The golden toad of Costa Rica’s
Monteverde cloud forest has
become extinct because of
changes in climate.
Figure 4-11
Species and families
Era Period Millions of Bar width represents relative experiencing
Cenozoic years ago number of living species mass extinction
Quaternary Today Extinction Current extinction crisis caused
by human activities. Many species
Tertiary are expected to become extinct
Extinction within the next 50–100 years.
65
Cretaceous: up to 80% of ruling
Cretaceous reptiles (dinosaurs); many marine
species including many
Mesozoic

foraminiferans and mollusks.
Jurassic Extinction Triassic: 35% of animal families,
180 including many reptiles and marine
Triassic mollusks.

250 Extinction Permian: 90% of animal families,
including over 95% of marine
Permian
species; many trees, amphibians,
most bryozoans and brachiopods,
Carboniferous
Extinction all trilobites.
345
Devonian: 30% of animal
Paleozoic

families, including agnathan and
Devonian
placoderm fishes and many
trilobites.
Silurian

Ordovician Extinction
500 Ordovician: 50% of animal
Cambrian families, including many
trilobites.
Fig. 4-12, p. 93
Effects of Humans on Biodiversity

 The scientific consensus is that human
activities are decreasing the earth’s
biodiversity.
Figure 4-13
Number of families

Pre-cambrian

Cambrian

Ordovician

Silurian

Devonian

Carboniferous

Permian

Jurassic
Millions of years ago

Devonian

Cretaceous

Tertiary
Quaternary
Fig. 4-13, p. 94
Terrestrial

organisms
Marine
organisms
GENETIC ENGINEERING AND THE
FUTURE OF EVOLUTION
 We have used artificial selection to change
the genetic characteristics of populations with
similar genes through selective breeding.
 We have used
genetic engineering
to transfer genes
from one species to
another.

Figure 4-15
Genetic Engineering:
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO)

 GMOs use
recombinant
DNA
 genes or portions
of genes from
different
organisms.

Figure 4-14
Phase 1
Make Modified Gene E. coli

Genetically Insert modified
Cell Extract modified plasmid into E. coli
Extract DNA Plasmid plasmid

Plasmid
Gene of DNA
interest
Identify and Remove Insert extracted
Identify and plasmid Grow in tissue
remove portion (step 2) into plasmid
extract gene from DNA of culture to
of DNA with (step 3)
with desired trait E. coli make copies
desired trait

Fig. 4-14, p. 95
Phase 2
Make Transgenic Cell
E. Coli A. tumefaciens Foreign DNA
(agrobacterium) Host DNA
Plant cell

Nucleus

Transfer plasmid Agrobacterium inserts
copies to a carrier foreign DNA into plant cell
agrobacterium to yield transgenic cell

Transfer plasmid to Use gene gun to inject
surface of microscopic DNA into plant cell
metal particle

Fig. 4-14, p. 95
Phase 3
Grow Genetically Engineered Plant

Transgenic cell
from Phase 2

Cell division of
transgenic cells

Culture cells
to form plantlets
Transfer
to soil
Transgenic plants
with new traits

Fig. 4-14, p. 95
Phase 3
Grow Genetically Transgenic cell
Engineered Plant from Phase 2

Cell division of
transgenic cells

Culture cells
to form plantlets

Transfer to soil

Transgenic plants
with new traits Stepped Art

Fig. 4-14, p. 95
How Would You Vote?
To conduct an instant in-class survey using a classroom response
system, access “JoinIn Clicker Content” from the PowerLecture main
menu for Living In the Environment.

 Should we legalize the production of human
clones if a reasonably safe technology for
doing so becomes available?
 a. No. Human cloning will lead to widespread
human rights abuses and further overpopulation.
 b. Yes. People would benefit with longer and
healthier lives.
THE FUTURE OF EVOLUTION
 Biologists are learning to rebuild organisms
from their cell components and to clone
organisms.
 Cloning has lead to high miscarriage rates, rapid
aging, organ defects.
 Genetic engineering can help improve
human condition, but results are not always
predictable.

Do not know where the new gene will be located
in the DNA molecule’s structure and how that will
affect the organism.
Controversy Over
Genetic Engineering
 There are a number of privacy, ethical, legal
and environmental issues.
 Should genetic engineering and development
be regulated?
 What are the long-term environmental
consequences?
Case Study:
How Did We Become Such a Powerful
Species so Quickly?
 We lack:
 strength, speed, agility.
 weapons (claws, fangs), protection (shell).
 poor hearing and vision.
 We have thrived as a species because of
our:
 opposable thumbs, ability to walk upright,
complex brains (problem solving).