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Lesson summary for:
Evo in the news: Sex, speciation, and fishy physics

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Overview:
More than 500 species of cichlid fish inhabit Africa's Lake Victoria. This news brief from March 2009 explains new research suggesting that the physics of light may have played an important role in cichlid diversification and in the recent drop in their diversity.

Author/Source:
UC Museum of Paleontology

Grade level:
9-12

Time:
20 minutes

Teaching tips:
This article includes a video podcast, a set of discussion and extension questions for use in class, and hints about related lessons that might be used in conjunction with this one. Get more tips for using Evo in the News articles in your classroom.

Concepts:
Correspondence to the Next Generation Science Standards is indicated in parentheses after each relevant concept. See our conceptual framework for details.

  • There is a fit between organisms and their environments, though not always a perfect fit. (LS4.C)

  • Evolution results from selection acting upon genetic variation within a population. (LS4.B)

  • Traits that confer an advantage may persist in the population and are called adaptations. (LS4.B, LS4.C)

  • Depending on environmental conditions, inherited characteristics may be advantageous, neutral, or detrimental.

  • Speciation is the splitting of one ancestral lineage into two or more descendent lineages.

  • Occupying new environments can provide new selection pressures and new opportunities, leading to speciation. (LS4.C)

  • A hallmark of science is exposing ideas to testing. (P3, P4, P6, P7)

  • Accepted scientific theories are not tenuous; they must survive rigorous testing and be supported by multiple lines of evidence to be accepted. (NOS2, NOS4)

  • As with other scientific disciplines, evolutionary biology has applications that factor into everyday life.

Teacher background:

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