Chapter 5: Evolution of Biodiversity - Lesson 3: Speciation & Niches

Chapter 5: Evolution of Biodiversity - Lesson 3: Speciation & Niches

  • Explain how environmental change affects speciation and extinction.
  • Explain the concept of an ecological niche.
  • Allopatric and sympatric speciation are two ways in which new species can evolve.  Four factors that affect a species' ability to adapt to environmental change are the rate of environmental change, the amount of genetic variation within the species, population size, and generation time.
  • Evolution by natural selection favors combinations of traits that perform well under particular environmental conditions.  As a result, each species has a range of preferred abiotic conditions that constitute its fundamental niche.  This fundamental niche is further restricted by biotic factors, including competition, predation, and disease, to form the species' realized niche.  Changes in environmental conditions therefore have the potential to change species' distributions.
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