This research profile follows Dr. Rosemary Gillespie to Hawaii as she evaluates hypotheses about the evolution of the colorful happy-face spider.
UC Museum of Paleontology
one class period
This research profile is a great example of how scientists pose and test multiple hypotheses. It includes discussion and essay questions that can be assigned to students. Get tips for using research profiles in your classroom.
Correspondence to the Next Generation Science Standards is indicated in parentheses after each relevant concept. See our conceptual framework for details.
- Geological change and biological evolution are linked.
- Tectonic plate movement has affected the evolution and distribution of living things. (ESS1.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)
- Inherited characteristics affect the likelihood of an organism's survival and reproduction. (LS4.B, LS4.C)
- Depending on environmental conditions, inherited characteristics may be advantageous, neutral, or detrimental.
- The amount of genetic variation within a population may affect the likelihood of survival of the population; the less the available diversity, the less likely the population will be able to survive environmental change.
- Natural selection acts on the variation that exists in a population. (LS4.B, LS4.C)
- Natural selection acts on phenotype as an expression of genotype.
- 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. (LS4.B, LS4.C)
- A hallmark of science is exposing ideas to testing. (P3, P4, P6, P7)
- Scientists test their ideas using multiple lines of evidence. (P6, NOS2)
- 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)
- The real process of science is complex, iterative, and can take many different paths.
- Scientists use multiple research methods (experiments, observational research, comparative research, and modeling) to collect data. (P2, P3, P4, NOS1)
- Science is a human endeavor. (NOS7)
- 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 experimental evidence to study evolutionary processes.
- Scientists may explore many different hypotheses to explain their observations. (P7)