Reading: ‘Move, Adapt or Die’

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A reading that discusses different aspects of evolutionary adaptations to climate change in animals. This reading by Renee Cho, Earth Institute, Columbia University, uses various examples to showcase how animals adapt to climate change and how a warming climate forces animals to ‘move, adapt or die’. 

Students will learn about some of the morphological, biological, and physiological adaptations that occur in response to climate change. They will further be introduced to the concept of epigenetics, its role in phenotypic plasticity and how this differs from environmental adaptation. 

Use this tool to help your students find answers to: 

  1. What is evolutionary adaptation? How does it differ from phenotypic plasticity? Give an example. 
  2. How is climate change influencing evolutionary adaptations in living organisms? 
  3. What is epigenetics? Discuss its role in phenotypic plasticity? 
  4. Discuss why it is important to maintain large species populations and biodiversity in the context of adaptations.

About the tool

Tool NameWhat Helps Animals Adapt (or Not) to Climate Change?
DisciplineBiological Sciences, Environmental Sciences
Topic(s) in DisciplineEvolution, Evolutionary Adaptations, Natural SelectionPhenotypic Variations, Genetic Variations
Gene Frequency, Phenotypic Plasticity
Morphological or Physiological Traits, Epigenetic Factors
Climate Topic Climate and the Biosphere
Type of tool Reading
Grade LevelHigh School, Undergraduate
Developed byRenee Cho
Hosted atEarth Institute, Columbia University
Computer SkillsBasic