Understanding Evolution: your one-stop source for information on evolution
Resource library Teaching materials Evolution 101

Lesson summary for:
Species, speciation and the environment

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Overview:
Niles Eldredge gives a historical overview of scientists' thinking on the process of speciation, along with modern perspectives on this issue.
This article appears at ActionBioscience.org.

Author/Source:
ActionBioscience.org

Grade level:
9-12

Time:
30 minutes

Teaching tips:
This article is very advanced and may be appropriate for AP biology. Student learning on this topic may be enhanced by supporting resources and classroom discussion.

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)

  • Present-day species evolved from earlier species; the relatedness of organisms is the result of common ancestry. (LS4.A)

  • Geological change and biological evolution are linked.

  • Tectonic plate movement has affected the evolution and distribution of living things. (ESS1.C)

  • Rates of extinction vary.

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

  • Speciation requires reproductive isolation.

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

  • Scientists can test ideas about events and processes long past, very distant, and not directly observable.

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

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

  • Rates of evolution vary.

  • Rates of speciation vary.

  • Speciation is often the result of geographic isolation.

Teacher background:

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