Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientist's Persistence Sheds Light On Marine Science Riddle

Date:
September 29, 2006
Source:
The Academy of Natural Sciences
Summary:
When he started compiling an online database of seashells 15 years ago, Dr. Gary Rosenberg did not envision that his meticulous record-keeping would eventually shed light on a 40-year-old evolutionary debate. The debate involves the mechanism underlying the island rule: that small animals isolated on islands evolve to be larger than their mainland relatives, and large animals evolve to be smaller.

This giant deep-sea isopod is an example of an animal that has evolved to a much larger size in deeper water. These isopods are distant relatives of the tiny "pill bugs" found in many gardens. They are also related to small shallow-water isopods that live in tide pools.
Credit: Image : National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

When he started compiling an online database of seashells 15 years ago, Dr. Gary Rosenberg did not envision that his meticulous record-keeping would eventually shed light on a 40-year-old evolutionary debate.

Related Articles


The debate involves the mechanism underlying the island rule: that small animals isolated on islands evolve to be larger than their mainland relatives, and large animals evolve to be smaller. In a paper to be published in September in the Journal of Biogeography, "The Island Rule and the Evolution of Body Size in the Deep Sea," Rosenberg and his co-authors apply the island rule to deep-sea animals using Rosenberg's detailed database of marine snails. They find a similar pattern: when species colonize the deep sea, large-bodied species become smaller and small-bodied species become larger.

"I've been building the Malacolog database for many years as a tool for research, summarizing information on the names and distributions of species of mollusks, but I had not anticipated asking this particular evolutionary question," said Rosenberg, Vice President for the Center for Systematic Biology and Evolution at The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia's natural history museum. "That means that the data entered in the system could not have been subconsciously biased toward this result. I hope there will be many more surprising results in the years to come."

The database Malacolog (www.data.acnatsci.org/wasp) documents species of mollusks in the Western Atlantic, from Greenland to Antarctica.

Scientists have suggested several explanations for the evolution of body size in animals isolated on islands: reduced area, fewer predators, less competition, and resource limitation.

"Only resource limitation clearly applies to deep-sea animals," said Rosenberg. "We know there is less food available in the deep sea than in shallow water, but the area of the deep sea is much larger. Also, the competitors and predators of a species often don't reach an island, but competition and predation in the deep sea can be intense. A lot more study needs to be done on the relative importance of these factors, but clearly resource limitation is a key factor in the evolution of size."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by The Academy of Natural Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

The Academy of Natural Sciences. "Scientist's Persistence Sheds Light On Marine Science Riddle." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 September 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060911104122.htm>.
The Academy of Natural Sciences. (2006, September 29). Scientist's Persistence Sheds Light On Marine Science Riddle. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060911104122.htm
The Academy of Natural Sciences. "Scientist's Persistence Sheds Light On Marine Science Riddle." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060911104122.htm (accessed January 31, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Nanoscale Sensor Could Help Wine Producers and Clinical Scientists

Nanoscale Sensor Could Help Wine Producers and Clinical Scientists

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 30, 2015) A nanosensor that mimics the oral effects and sensations of drinking wine has been developed by Danish and Portuguese researchers. Jim Drury saw it in operation. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dog-Loving Astronaut Wins Best Photo of 2015

Dog-Loving Astronaut Wins Best Photo of 2015

Buzz60 (Jan. 30, 2015) Retired astronaut and television host, Leland Melvin, snuck his dogs into the NASA studio so they could be in his official photo. As Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) shows us, the secret is out. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Wants to Analyze DNA from 1 Million People

U.S. Wants to Analyze DNA from 1 Million People

Reuters - US Online Video (Jan. 30, 2015) The U.S. has proposed analyzing genetic information from more than 1 million American volunteers to learn how genetic variants affect health and disease. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rarest Cat on Planet Caught Attacking Monkeys on Camera

Rarest Cat on Planet Caught Attacking Monkeys on Camera

Buzz60 (Jan. 30, 2015) An African Golden Cat, the rarest large cat on the planet was recently caught on camera by scientists trying to study monkeys. The cat comes out of nowhere to attack those monkeys. Patrick Jones (@Patrick_E_Jones) has the rest. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins