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E. The Evolutionary Process of Adaptive Radiation

Narrator: This is Science Today. University of California, Berkeley biologist Rosemary Gillespie describes how Hawaiian spiders developed into multiple species from a single spider. By studying the DNA of these spiders, Gillespie noticed that as the spiders traveled between islands they used what is called adaptive radiation to change and take advantage of new food sources.

Gillespie: Adaptive radiation is basically where you get a single line or a single colonist arriving on an island and diversifying into multiple species that occupy different ecological roles.

Narrator While Adaptive radiation has occurred in Hawaii for centuries, Gillespie wonders if this process will continue.

Gillespie: What' we've done by having planes going to Hawaii by having boats going to Hawaii, with all this immigration we have basically put the islands very much closer to a source of migrants. What we have to think about is what is that going to do to the natural communities. How is that going to affect the way communities are assembled?

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