Wednesday, November 5, 2014

UI professor uses DNA–sequencing tools to understand how Florida anoles adapted quickly to invading species

Off the coast of Florida, dredging material has created a string of tiny islands.

On most of the islands, native green anole lizards have made their home. On some of these, invasive brown anoles have moved in as well. Together, the intermingled populations create a natural experiment. 

Researchers including Paul Hohenlohe of the University of Idaho have discovered the green anoles sharing their islands with invaders evolve to be better suited to life higher in the islands’ trees – and fast. 

“Sometimes we think of evolution as this long–term thing that happens on long time scales, but really it’s an observable thing that happens on human time scales,” says Hohenlohe, an assistant professor of biological sciencesat the University of Idaho.

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