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acquired trait: A phenotypic characteristic, acquired during growth and development, that is not genetically based and therefore cannot be passed on to the next generation (for example, the large muscles of a weightlifter).adaptation: Any heritable characteristic of an organism that improves its ability to survive and reproduce in its environment.
Also used to describe the process of genetic change within a population, as influenced by natural selection.
adaptive landscape: A graph of the average fitness of a population in relation to the frequencies of genotypes in it.
Then, even if circumstances change such that it no longer provides any survival or reproductive advantage, the behavior will still tend to be exhibited -- unless it becomes positively disadvantageous in the new environment.
adaptive radiation: The diversification, over evolutionary time, of a species or group of species into several different species or subspecies that are typically adapted to different ecological niches (for example, Darwin's finches).
agnostic: A person who believes that the existence of a god or creator and the nature of the universe is unknowable.algae: An umbrella term for various simple organisms that contain chlorophyll (and can therefore carry out photosynthesis) and live in aquatic habitats and in moist situations on land. Algae range from macroscopic seaweeds such as giant kelp, which frequently exceeds 30 m in length, to microscopic filamentous and single-celled forms such as Spirogyra and Chlorella. For example, if a gene determines the seed color of peas, one allele of that gene may produce green seeds and another allele produce yellow seeds.