Chapter

Adaptation

Douglas W. Morris and Per Lundberg

in Pillars of Evolution

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780198568797
Published online December 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191774690 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198568797.003.0007
Adaptation

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Adaptation provides the answer to this book’s questions about the fit (and occasional lack of fit) of form with function, the diversity and progression of life, and the distribution and abundance of organisms. Moreover, the rules of adaptation are universally applicable to any system where there is heritable variation, a struggle for existence, and an interaction between them. Thus, to a large extent, the study of evolution is the study of adaptation. Adaptation, in any form, will require mechanisms that create heritability. There must be dynamics to generate and maintain variation, as well as structural links between heritable variation and its function. Function must have fitness consequences. Those consequences depend on scale. This concluding chapter ties all the pillars together and uses examples to illustrate effective ways to study natural evolution in action.

Keywords: adaptive radiation; extinction; bauplan; sexual adaptation; epiphenomenon; maladaptation; biogeography; speciation

Chapter.  11799 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Evolutionary Biology

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