Skip to main content Skip to Search Box
Summary Article: adaptation from Philip's Encyclopedia

In biology, a trait of an organism that increases its chances of success in its environment. Animals and plants adapt to changes in their environment through variations in structure, reproduction or organisation within communities. These variations are the result of the individual organism's DNA, so are more prevalent in the next generation if they increase its chances of survival and reproductive success. This is the process which drives evolution. Adaptation takes place over generations and should not be confused with acclimatisation to new conditions within a single organism's lifetime.

adaptation

The various honeycreepers of Hawaii evolved from one species of bird now long extinct (centre). Over millions of years the honeycreepers evolved different methods of feeding. This ensured the island's various habitat niches could be exploited, resulting in less competition among the birds and allowing more to survive. The main adaptation was the dramatic change in the shape of the beaks. A few species evolved beaks best suited to feed on nectar (1), others feed purely on insects (2), while some feed on fruit (3) or seeds (4).

Copyright © 2007 Philip's

Related Credo Articles

Full text Article
ADAPTATION
Encyclopedia of Paleontology

An “adaptation” is a feature of an organism that has become established in a population by preferential selection because it performs or...

Full text Article
Adaptation
Reader's Guide to the Social Sciences

Baum Joel A.C. Jitendra V. Singh (editors), Evolutionary Dynamics of Organizations , Oxford and New York : Oxford...

Full text Article
Adaptation
The Concise Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology and Behavioral Science

Like many other words in psychology, adaptation has multiple meanings. At the basis of all the meanings, however, is the concept carried by...

See more from Credo