Environmental Change Triggers Rapid Evolution
Although previous research has implied a link between short-term changes in animal species' physical characteristics and evolution, the Leeds-led study is the first to prove a causal relationship between rapid genetic evolution and animal population dynamics in a controlled experimental setting.
The researchers worked with soil mites that were collected from the wild and then raised in 18 glass tubes. Forty percent of adult mites were removed every week from six of the glass tubes. A similar proportion of juveniles were removed each week in a further six tubes, while no "harvesting" was conducted in the remaining third of the tubes.
Lead author Dr Tom Cameron, a postdoctoral Fellow in the Faculty of Biological Sciences at Leeds at the time of the research and now based in Umeå University, Sweden, said: "We saw significant evolutionary changes relatively quickly.
Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.