In this ongoing series on evolution misconceptions I bring you the misconception that evolution only takes place over long periods of time. While it is true that much of evolution does take place over long periods of time, there is evolution that takes place in very short periods of time. Remember, evolution is a process in which changes in genetic material are passed on from one generation to the next. For species with long lifetimes, evolution will naturally be a slower process, but for shorter lived species, it can happen much quicker. Here's a great article from Discover Magazine on male guppies evolving over just a few generations.
Rapid Evolution Changes Species in Real Time
Although I don't have enough information to know if it is an evolutionary process, scientists are finding that some coral are adapting to warmer ocean temperatures much better than others. Coral reefs are experiencing great levels of bleaching, but some areas are found to have coral surviving at higher rates. It's a big area of study right now. If it is an evolutionary process, it is happening on short time periods as it is only relatively recently in the last couple of decades that ocean temperatures have risen as dramatically as they have.
This misconception is probably used much less by creationists to debunk evolution than the previous misconceptions I've discussed, but I have seen it used. The truth, however, is that evolution takes place over both long and short time periods. Short time periods changes in a species is not a check mark against evolution.