Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Darwin Was Right: Natural Selection Speeds Up Speciation

Date:
April 6, 2008
Source:
University of British Columbia
Summary:
In the first experiment of its kind conducted in nature, evolutionary biologists have come up with strong evidence for one of Charles Darwin's cornerstone ideas -- adaptation to the environment accelerates the creation of new species.

Timema (walking-stick insects) live and feed on a range of different plant species. Sometimes adaptation to living on these different plants involves not only camouflage, but also physiological adaptation in the ability to detoxify harmful plant chemicals.
Credit: Photo by Cristina Sandoval, courtesy of University of British Columbia

In the first experiment of its kind conducted in nature, a University of British Columbia evolutionary biologist has come up with strong evidence for one of Charles Darwin's cornerstone ideas -- adaptation to the environment accelerates the creation of new species.

Related Articles


"A single adaptive trait such as color could move a population towards the process of forming a new species, but adaptation in many traits may be required to actually complete the formation of an entirely new species," says UBC post-doctoral fellow Patrik Nosil, whose study is just published.* "The more ways a population can adapt to its unique surroundings, the more likely it will ultimately diverge into a separate species."

Nosil studied walking-stick insects in the Santa Barbara Chaparral in southern California. Stick insects cannot fly and live and feed on their host plants. Different "eco-types" of walking-stick insects are found on different plants and exhibit different color patterns that match the features of their host plants. For example, insects of the cristinae eco-type, which feed on plants with needle-like leaves, have a white line along their green bodies.

By displacing some eco-types away from their customary host plants and protecting others from their natural predators, Nosil found that color pattern alone could initiate speciation, while natural selection on additional adaptive traits such as the ability to detoxify different host-plant chemicals are required to "seal the deal," or complete the speciation process initiated by differences in color pattern.

"Natural selection has been widely regarded as the cause of adaptation within existing species while genetics and geography have been the focus of most current research on the driving force of speciation," says Nosil.

"As far as advancing Darwin's theory that natural selection is a key driver of speciation, this is the first experiment of its kind done outside of a lab setting. The findings are exciting," says Nosil.

*The article "Ecological Niche Dimensionality and the Evolutionary Diversification of Stick Insects" was recently published by PLoS One.



Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of British Columbia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of British Columbia. "Darwin Was Right: Natural Selection Speeds Up Speciation." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 April 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080402071538.htm>.
University of British Columbia. (2008, April 6). Darwin Was Right: Natural Selection Speeds Up Speciation. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080402071538.htm
University of British Columbia. "Darwin Was Right: Natural Selection Speeds Up Speciation." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080402071538.htm (accessed November 24, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Fossils & Ruins News

Monday, November 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ruins Thought To Be Port Actually Buried Greek City

Ruins Thought To Be Port Actually Buried Greek City

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) — Media is calling it an "underwater Pompeii." Researchers have found ruins off the coast of Delos. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Amphipolis Tomb Architraves Reveal Faces

Amphipolis Tomb Architraves Reveal Faces

AFP (Nov. 22, 2014) — Faces in an area of mosaics is the latest find by archaeologists at a recently discovered tomb dating back to fourth century BC and the time of Alexander the Great in Greece. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
US Returns Looted Artifacts to Thailand

US Returns Looted Artifacts to Thailand

AFP (Nov. 19, 2014) — The United States has returns over 500 vases, bowls, axes, and other ancient artifacts mostly from the Ban Chiang archaeological site which were illegally looted from Thailand decades ago. Duration: 01:13 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How To Search Through Every Public Tweet Sent Since 2006

How To Search Through Every Public Tweet Sent Since 2006

Newsy (Nov. 19, 2014) — Twitter has announced improvements to its search index that allow users to search through every public tweet sent since its inception in 2006. Video provided by Newsy
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