Defining microevolutionMicroevolution is evolution on a small scale within a single population. That means narrowing our focus to one branch of the tree of life.
If you could zoom in on one branch of the tree of life scale the insects, for example you would see another phylogeny relating all the different insect lineages. If you continue to zoom in, selecting the branch representing beetles, you would see another phylogeny relating different beetle species. You could continue zooming in until you saw the relationships between beetle populations. Click on the button below to see this in action!
But how do you know when you've gotten to the population level?
Biologists who study evolution at this level define evolution as a change in gene frequency within a population.
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Beetle mating image courtesy of Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, USGS
Understanding Evolution © 2015 by The University of California Museum of Paleontology, Berkeley, and the Regents of the University of California