Email Print Share
October 21, 2019

Tiny toad offers big potential for research on plasticity


Spadefoot toads are master "shape-shifters," able to make drastic changes to their form and behavior in response to their environment. They're excellent candidates for research on plasticity in nature, or the ability of an organism to adapt to environmental changes or differences in habitats. With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), evolutionary biologists David and Karin Pfennig and their teams at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill study spadefoots to better understand the role plasticity plays in adaptive evolution.

The research in this episode was supported by NSF grants #1643239, "EAGER: Does Adaptation Facilitate or Constrain Further Adaptation? Evaluating the Origins of Character Displacement;" #1753865 "Collaborative proposal: Evaluating phenotypic plasticity's role in adaptive evolution;" and #1555520, "Behavioral Dysfunction and the Evolution of Reproductive Isolation between Species."

Credit: National Science Foundation

Images and other media in the National Science Foundation Multimedia Gallery are available for use in print and electronic material by NSF employees, members of the media, university staff, teachers and the general public. All media in the gallery are intended for personal, educational and nonprofit/non-commercial use only.

Videos credited to the National Science Foundation, an agency of the U.S. Government, may be distributed freely. However, some materials within the videos may be copyrighted. If you would like to use portions of NSF-produced programs in another product, please contact the Video Team in the Office of Legislative and Public Affairs at the National Science Foundation. Additional information about general usage can be found in Conditions.