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C. Charting the Evolutionary History of Hawaiian Spiders

Narrator: This is Science Today. By studying the DNA of 16 species of Hawaiian spiders, biologist Rosemary Gillespie of the University of California, Berkeley has discovered much about evolution. The spiders were found throughout the Hawaiian Islands, but they could be traced back to a common ancestor from Kauai , Hawaii's oldest island at 5 million years old.

Gillespie: You can actually see exactly how species have changed as they've gone from one island to the next. So, it shows us how evolution works and how it's tightly tied to the environment.

Narrator: But with the big island becoming more populated and new species of animals emerging, Gillespie wonders if the once isolated ecosystem of Hawaii will maintain its balance.

Gillespie: The next step will be to see how they're going to be impacted by the onslaught of species coming in now. Whether we can maintain some semblance of these ancient processes that have been going on for millions of years or whether we can't. I would say we can and we need to learn how too.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.