“Why are organisms (and their offspring) phenotypically plastic to environmental change?”

On April 4th, I attended a forum held by Matthew Walsh who works for Department of Biology at the University of Texas in Arlington. He spoke about the affects different types of environments have on organisms and their evolution. In his research, he followed different types of fish and water dwelling organisms such as daphnia. Through many tests, he determined that high predatation leads to smaller eyes and larger brains in male daphnia. He also examined the affects of invasive species on the growth rate of daphnias. These adaptations start when a daphnia receives a signal either chemical, visual, or neurosensory. The problem is, the daphnia’s signals become trangenerational, meaning their offspring and grand-offspring start displaying the same changes. The causes for the increasing signals and subsequent changes in evolution can be attributed to global climate change, misuse of natural capital, and poor trash disposal. This is just one study describing a small piece of the insurmountable detrimental affects that come from a lack of worldwide effort to pursue green living. The Americans, Chinese, Indians, Pakistani, and Japanese are some of the world’s biggest contributors to pollution and climate change. The global community must take immediate action to correct these problems before we reach the ecological tipping point.

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