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Natural Selection and Evolutionary Rescue of a Species


A reading that shows that climate change can be a selective pressure in natural selection. It explains how the selection of a character that provides an adaptive advantage in a changed environment, leads to the ‘evolutionary rescue’ of a species.

Students will learn about Snowshoe hares in North America and how reduced snowfall due to a warming climate behaves as a selective pressure on their seasonal coat colour polymorphism. Students will learn how such evolutionary hotspots are made due to climate change.

Use this tool to help your students find answers to:

  1. Why is genetic variation critical to the survival of a species?
  2. How does natural selection play a role in the evolutionary rescue of a species, that would otherwise be endangered due to climate change?
About Tool
Tool NameResearch identifies areas where evolution could rescue animals threatened by climate change
DisciplineBiological Sciences
Topic(s) in DisciplineAdaptation, Species and Speciation, Genetics, Natural Selection, Selective Pressure, Evolution, Speciation, Evolutionary Hotspots, Genetic Polymorphism, Genetic Variants, Adaptive Advantage
Climate TopicClimate and the Biosphere
Type of toolReading
Grade LevelHigh School, Undergraduate
LocationNorth America
Translation     –
Developed byL. Scott Mills, Mills Lab, University of Montana
Hosted atUniversity of Montana
Computer SkillsBasic

Mapped Sustainable Development Goal(s), apart from 4 and 13


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