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ETD 55 A. What is adaptive radiation? B. What is it caused by? C. Give Specific Examples of it. D. What are 4 of the main ideas from the Miller AA Assignment?
February 26, 2014 at 11:41am


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Amber Neathery
March 02, 2016 at 1:22am

Student: I taught my dad that adaptive radiation is the evolution of a diversely adaptive species from a common ancestor to fill ecological niches. Usually, an event involving environmental change will result in the death of most organisms: the species that survive will diverge into daugher species. Readily available niches  (opportunities) allow species to evolve. One example of adaptive radiation from Earth's history occurred when the dinosaurs went extinct: the death of most dinosaur species allowed for mammals such as the shrew to evolve into bats, whales, more shrews, and other organisms. The surviving dinosaurs later evolved into organisms such as birds. Talking my dad through this ETD helped me put the pieces together myself.

Parent: adaptive radiation is when organisms take opportunities. when dinosaurs went extinct new species evolved and dinosaurs evolved into birds. from the lesson i am confused as to what a niche is.

Madison Boggan
March 02, 2015 at 4:54pm

Parent: From what I understood, adaptive radiation is basically the evolution of diversity after an environmental change. An event occurs that leaves a common ancestor and this creates many species by opening up jobs and decreasing competition thus more mutations survive. Examples of this is the dinosaur extinction that allowed mammals to thrive. Other event examples are forest fires or humans clearing trees. 

The worksheet taught Maddie about comparing protein sequences in order to see relatedness between sequences. This can occur between animals or even between all domains. The issue of morality is very interesting given that all species are related.

Student: It was very interesting to talk to my mom about the ethics of testing things on animals given that they are our relatives. We contemplated the issue of testing things or trying them out on humans vs. on chimps. We also talked about what society and the medical field would look like without the testing.  Through going over this ETD, I also understand the sequence of adaptive radiation steps even more. 

Riley Hajek
April 02, 2014 at 7:16pm

What I found interesting from my discussion with Riley was that in adaptive radiation, if there is mass extinction, the surviving species will replicate and expand their roles to fill in the gaps that no longer being filled.  I also learned that the various species of animals are quite similar when considering their amino acid sequences and hemoglobin, that humans and chips are closely related and their is a common ancestor among living things.  It is interesting to think that the smallest detail change at the molecular level can induce behavioral and / or ability differences in species. 

Tracy Hajek 


Riley Hajek

I learned that to give a good answer about what adaptive radiation is it is best explained using analogies the one that I think that is most relatable and that my mother understood the best was the mass extinction about the dinosaurs and how birds and mammals survived and they continued on to fill in all the open niches or roles in the environment. 

Sophie Wulfing
March 16, 2014 at 11:00pm

Spreading of the species - radiates out, where an event plus an ancestral species creates many daughter species.  The event opens up niches, lowering competition, allowing a species to seek new opportunities, and thus allows speciation and adaptation.  Examples of these events might be mass extinction, local extinction (forest fire), the colonization of new islands, new ecological relationships (relationship between flowering plants and insects because of the dinosaur extinction.)  And environmental change (climate).  A specific example might be at the end of the ice age when the sea levels rose, where big and small mammels ewre stuck on an island and only the small ones survived. 

Sophie- I needed the examples of "Events" in order to explain them, especially Local extinction with the emergence of pioneer species and the one of environmental change. Also on this etd was the Miller Worksheet, and how it eximplified how amino acid sequences, as opposed to DNA sequences could also be used to find relationships among species

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