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Evo in the news

Evolving an invasive species - November, 2014
Imagine a quintessential scene from a Golden State vacation: standing on the bluffs off Highway One, taking in a view of the beach below and a Pacific sunset on the horizon. It's classic California. Only what's beneath your feet on that cliff is not Californian at all. The succulent highway iceplant (Mesembryanthemum crystallinum), a native of South Africa, was first introduced to California in the early 1900s and has since spread up and down the coast, competing with native plants for resources and suppressing the growth of native seedlings. And it's not just California. Invasive species cause serious environmental disturbances all over the world: introduced pythons threaten native wildlife in the Everglades, invasive plants have changed regions of South Africa from grassland to scrub, foreign barnacles displace mussels and oysters on Europe's northwestern coasts. In the U.S. alone, invasive species cause billions of dollars of damage each year and contribute to the threat faced by hundreds of endangered species. But what makes an invasive species in the first place? Plenty of organisms make it to new ground, but many just can't hack it and die out or remain marginal, while other species take over. Biologists have proposed many hypotheses to explain the difference, but now new research (based on a very old idea!) suggests that evolution can help us predict which introduced species are more likely to become problematic invasives.

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Kim Bostwick How boogieing birds evolved: The work of Kim Bostwick
When ornithologist Kim Bostwick goes hunting with her binoculars, she's not just looking for birds; she's looking for untold evolutionary stories.
Jackson Njau CSI: Olduvai Gorge. The work of Jackson Njau
Follow paleoanthropologist Jackson Njau as he examines fossil evidence for clues of crocodile predation on early hominids.
Evo Connection Evo Connection slide sets
This series of short slide sets explain several basic biology topics in evolutionary terms. Each set includes notes to help you present every slide.
A fisheye view of the tree of life A fisheye view of the tree of life
Explore our interactive fish evolutionary tree to learn about amazing innovations that have evolved in the different lineages.


This site was created by the University of California Museum of Paleontology with support provided by the National Science Foundation (grant no. 0096613) and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (grant no. 51003439).