FITNESS AND ADAPTATION II

FITNESS AND ADAPTATION II - natural selection and takes...

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FITNESS AND ADAPTATION II Adaptation is a central issue or concept in evolution, but one must be very specific when defining or deciding that one is actually "looking at" an adaptation or that something is adapted. The issue revolves around the general belief that the environment presents problems for the organism and that adaptations provide solutions to these problems. First: clarify some terminology. Adaptation come from ad (to, towards) and aptus (a fit). But it is important to distinguish different uses of the word "adaptation" in the biological sciences. An adaptation in physiology is a change in response to a certain problem: you heat up and respond by taking off your jacket (a behavioral "adaptation" to an environmental problem); you continue to heat up and respond by sweating (a physiological response to an environmental problem). In an evolutionary context: also a change in response to a certain problem. This time the change is genetic , is achieved by the process of
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Unformatted text preview: natural selection and takes place over a period of time considerably longer than the physiological time scale. But note: the physiological response itself could be an "adaptation" in the evolutionary sense: it can be (is) adaptive (genetically) to adapt physiologically or behaviorally. The word Adaptation is both a state of being (phenotypic trait or character) and it is a process by which such traits come to be called "adaptations". Implicit in the term adaptation is the belief that an adaptation serves some function or purpose . Dispersal and reproduction are the function or purpose of an apple, and apples are an adaptation apple trees use to achieve reproduction. This assumes natural selection lead to the apple as the agent of dispersal and reproduction. Avoiding predation is the function or purpose of leaf-like coloration in katydids and preying mantids and their coloration is an adaptation these insects use to avoid predation....
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This note was uploaded on 11/05/2011 for the course BIOLOGY MCB2010 taught by Professor Jessicadigirolamo during the Fall '10 term at Broward College.

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