Understanding Evolution

Research Profiles :

Aloha, spider style! The work of Rosemary Gillespie
by the Understanding Evolution team

happy-face spider Visitors to the Hawaiian Islands are often welcomed with a friendly "aloha," a flower lei, and a smile. But if you take a hike in the wet forests covering the volcanoes of many of the islands, you may also find another kind of smile — that of the Hawaiian happy-face spider.

By studying the variety of happy-face spiders that live on the different Hawaiian Islands, researchers discovered intriguing patterns that may help us to better understand how variety evolves.

In this research profile we will explore these key questions:
  • How does variation evolve, and why is it maintained?

  • How do researchers evaluate their hypotheses?

Are you ready? Let's go to the islands!


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