Monday, March 24, 2014

Ever wonder how scientists learn about evolution with living animals? Follow us and we'll show you.

Evolution is not just a historical science. Through careful observation and clever experiments evolutionary biologists are able to learn a lot about how evolution works using animals that exist on our planet right now. That is exactly the kind of work that we do and we want to show it to you.

Photo by Vince Musi

We use  small islands in Florida with populations of lizards as living laboratories to estimate the strength of natural selection as it occurs in each generation. We take careful measurements of thousands of lizards on the islands to estimate how physical traits, such as body, size influence a lizard's chances of surviving long enough to pass its genes to the next generation. We have been keeping tabs on natural selection in this way since we began working on The Lizard Project islands in 2011.

Since we started this work we have always been excited to talk about it with students. When we are in the field, we post to this blog with photos and videos to give students a window into the work of an evolutionary biologist. In some posts we will talk science, but sometimes we just want to show you some of the cool animals, plants and places that we come across while working on the islands.  We are heading out to the field again and from March 29th to April 5th you can follow our work each day right here on Wide World Science. We love to answer questions and will answer every student question that gets posted here or on Twitter @mr_reedy. We are also looking forward to having classrooms join us on the islands via Skype to have a look around the islands and talk science.

We would love to have you follow us in the field. Talk to you soon!