Niche construction

(niːʃ kənˈstrʌkʃ(ə)n): The evolutionary biologist’s word for the idea that organisms might change their environment, and thus the selection pressures upon them. Classic examples:

  • earthworms, that create the type of soil that fosters more earthworms.
  • humans, who move in to a biome and bulldoze it

Specifically, niche construction is interesting because it implies that there are some non-trivial consequences to selection acting upon the phenotype, as opposed to the genotype, as genetic programmers might intuit.