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.
- Evolution results from natural selection acting upon genetic variation within a population.
- Evolution results from genetic drift acting upon genetic variation within a population.
- Natural selection and genetic drift act on the variation that exists in a population.
- Natural selection acts on phenotype as an expression of genotype.
- Phenotype is a product of both genotype and the organism’s interactions with the environment.
- Inherited characteristics affect the likelihood of an organism’s survival and reproduction.
- 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.
- Traits that confer an advantage may persist in the population and are called adaptations.
- Depending on environmental conditions, inherited characteristics may be advantageous, neutral, or detrimental.
- Scientific knowledge is open to question and revision as we come up with new ideas and discover new evidence.
- A hallmark of science is exposing ideas to testing.
- Scientists test their ideas using multiple lines of evidence.
- Scientists use multiple research methods (experiments, observational research, comparative research, and modeling) to collect data.
- Scientists can test ideas about events and processes long past, very distant, and not directly observable.
- Scientists may explore many different hypotheses to explain their observations.
- The real process of science is complex, iterative, and can take many different paths.
- Science is a human endeavor.
- Our understanding of life through time is based upon multiple lines of evidence.
- Scientists use multiple lines of evidence (including morphological, developmental, and molecular evidence) to infer the relatedness of taxa.
- Scientists use the geographic distribution of fossils and living things to learn about the history of life.
- Scientists use experimental evidence to study evolutionary processes.