Understanding the evolution of fire ants may help scientists control the spread of these pests, which have already taken over much of the U.S.
UC Museum of Paleontology
Correspondence to the Next Generation Science Standards is indicated in parentheses after each relevant concept. See our conceptual framework for details.
- Evolution results from natural selection acting upon genetic variation within a population.
- Natural selection acts on phenotype as an expression of genotype.
- Inherited characteristics affect the likelihood of an organism’s survival and reproduction.
- Over time, the proportion of individuals with advantageous characteristics may increase (and the proportion with disadvantageous characteristics may decrease) due to their likelihood of surviving and reproducing.
- Traits that confer an advantage may persist in the population and are called adaptations.
- Depending on environmental conditions, inherited characteristics may be advantageous, neutral, or detrimental.
- A hallmark of science is exposing ideas to testing.
- Scientists test their ideas using multiple lines of evidence.
- Scientists use multiple research methods (experiments, observational research, comparative research, and modeling) to collect data.
- Scientists can test ideas about events and processes long past, very distant, and not directly observable.
- Our understanding of life through time is based upon multiple lines of evidence.
- As with other scientific disciplines, evolutionary biology has applications that factor into everyday life, for example in agriculture, biodiversity and conservation biology, and medicine and health.
- Scientists use experimental evidence to study evolutionary processes.