UCSB Science Line
Sponge Spicules Nerve Cells Galaxy Abalone Shell Nickel Succinate X-ray Lens Lupine
UCSB Science Line
Home
How it Works
Ask a Question
Search Topics
Webcasts
Our Scientists
Science Links
Contact Information
Why can many plants and animals adapt better than others?
Answer 1:

That's a complicated question that ecologists and other biologists are still trying to understand. Things like bacteria can often adapt fast because they can quickly change - it only takes 20 minutes for one bacterium to divide into 2 bacteria, and there are millions of them, so lots of them have some gene that has changed, and maybe one of those has a changed gene that helps it adapt to something like growing in the presence of an antibiotic. So that one 'antibiotic resistant' bacterium can grow and divide and adapt to the antibiotic.

Adapting basically means being able to change. People are adaptable, too, because we are intelligent enough that we can figure out ways to change when we need to. We invent things to help us, and we study ways to help people get along with each other, and lots of other things.

Some things are probably so tough that they aren't harmed by much of anything, like cockroaches. Other things are more needy and delicate, like hummingbirds that need so much food to keep their wings beating fast. But hummingbirds have adapted to us by learning to eat from our hummingbird feeders.


Click Here to return to the search form.

University of California, Santa Barbara Materials Research Laboratory National Science Foundation
This program is co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation and UCSB School-University Partnerships
Copyright © 2015 The Regents of the University of California,
All Rights Reserved.
UCSB Terms of Use