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14.19: Evolution in Marine Environments

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    • Contributed by Miracosta Oceanography 101
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    Evolution in Marine Environments

    Physical, chemical, and biological factors drive evolution in marine communities in the oceans and coastal waters. The life mission of any species is to eat, survive, and reproduce(Figure 14.31). Every species is adapted to a limited range of physical, chemical, and biologic factors. When the conditions of the physical environment are ideal, a species, or community of species, can thrive and expand. However, if environmental changes occur that affect the range of factors they can tolerate, populations will decline from such factors of loss of body mass, reduced reproduction, diseases, and attrition from competition. Collapses in populations result in isolation of groups of individuals. These isolated groups, if they don't go extinct, become the nucleus of a subsequent population that may evolve into a new species over time, perhaps better adapted to expand their populations when environmental conditions become favorable. The ability to move or migrate in search of more favorable conditions is an important factor. Charles Darwin's famous synopsis, survival of the fittest basically means: if you can't compete, your options are "adapt, move, or die!"

    Evolution illustrated
    Figure 14.31. How evolution works.