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UC Riverside Scientist Makes Key Discovery About Evolution Thanks To Guppies

William Warby

A UC Riverside scientist has made a key discovery about evolution from an unlikely source: guppies. 

UCR professor of biology David Reznick used the small fish to study this question: do animals evolve in response to the risk of being eaten, or to the environment that they create in the absence of predators?

According to Reznick’s research, it’s the latter.

In the wild, guppies can migrate to places where predators can’t follow them. Once they arrive in these places free of predators, they start to evolve rapidly.

By studying guppies in their native Trinidad, Reznick found that fish who migrated to safer waters first changed their environment, then changed themselves.

According to Reznick, this information shows that organisms can shape their own evolution by changing their environment.

You can learn more about this in a paper published by Reznick in the American Naturalist.