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Lesson summary for:
Island biogeography and evolution: Solving a phylogenetic puzzle using molecular genetics

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Overview:
Students focus on the evolution of three species of lizards using real data sets geographical and geological data, then morphology, and finally molecular data to determine possible phylogenetic explanations.

Author/Source:
Filson, R.P.

Grade level:
9-12

Time:
Two full class periods

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

  • Biological evolution accounts for diversity over long periods of time. (LS4.A, LS4.D)

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

  • 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)

  • Scientists test their ideas using multiple lines of evidence. (P6, NOS2)

  • Scientific knowledge is open to question and revision as we come up with new ideas and discover new evidence. (P4, P6, NOS3)

  • Our knowledge of the evolution of living things is always being refined as we gather more evidence.

  • Our understanding of life through time is based upon multiple lines of evidence.

  • Scientists use the similarity of DNA nucleotide sequences to infer the relatedness of taxa. (LS4.A)

  • Scientists use anatomical evidence to infer the relatedness of taxa. (LS4.A)

  • Scientists use the geographic distribution of fossils and living things to learn about the history of life.

  • Classification is based on evolutionary relationships.

  • Evolutionary trees (i.e., phylogenies or cladograms) are built from multiple lines of evidence.

  • Speciation is often the result of geographic isolation.

  • Evolutionary trees (i.e., phylogenies or cladograms) portray hypotheses about evolutionary relationships.

  • Scientists may explore many different hypotheses to explain their observations. (P7)

Teacher background:

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