Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Global Model For The Origin Of Species Independent Of Geographical Isolation

Date:
July 20, 2009
Source:
Boston University Medical Center
Summary:
Using a computer to settle the debate over the origin of species independent of geographic isolation, researchers developed a global model without boundaries and ecosystem niches. The study's biodiversity results provide additional evidence that species diversity arises without specific physical barriers. It also lays the groundwork for more powerful tests of the role played by natural and sexual selection as well as habitat complexity.

The tremendous diversity of life continues to puzzle scientists, long after the 200 years since Charles Darwin's birth. However, in recent years, consistent patterns of biodiversity have been identified over space, time organism type and geographical region.

Related Articles


Two views of the process of "speciation" -- the evolutionary process by which new biological species arise -- dominates evolutionary theory. The first requires a physical barrier such as a glacier, mountain or body of water to separate organisms enabling groups to diverge until they become separate species. In the second, an environment favors specific characteristics within a species, which encourages divergence as members fill different roles in an ecosystem.

In a new study just published in Nature, Les Kaufman, Boston University professor of biology and associate director of the BU Marine Program along with a team of researchers from The New England Complex Systems Institute, have collaborated and found a way to settle the debate which deals with the origin of species independent of geographic isolation.

They demonstrated, using a computer model, how diverse species can arise from the arrangement of organisms across an area, without any influence from geographical barriers or even natural selection. Over generations, the genetic distance between organisms in different regions increases, the study noted. Organisms spontaneously form groups that can no longer mate resulting in a patchwork of species across the area. Thus the number of species increases rapidly until it reaches a relatively steady state.

"Our biodiversity results provide additional evidence that species diversity arises without specific physical barriers," the study states.

The computer simulations, the authors, note showed the distribution of species formed patterns similar to those that have occurred with real organisms all around the world.

"The model we put forward in the paper lays the groundwork for more powerful tests of the role played by natural and sexual selection, as well as habitat complexity in shaping the patterns of biological diversity that we see around us today," said Kaufman. Our insights can be applied to the immense challenge that we now face -- not only to prevent the extinction of a large chunk of life, but also to prevent ourselves from quenching the very forces that fuel the continuous creation of new life forms on earth."

This study is also the fourth in a series from The New England Complex Systems Institute on the role of complexity in species coexistence and evolutionary diversification.

"One can think about the creation of species on the genetic level in the same way we think about the appearance of many patterns, including traffic jams," said Yaneer Bar-Yam, president of The New England Complex Systems Institute and a senior author of the study. "While the spatial environment may vary, specific physical barriers aren't necessary. Just as traffic jams can form from the flow of traffic itself without an accident, the formation of many species can occur as generations evolve across the organisms' spatial habitat.

In addition to Kaufman and Bar-Yam, the other collaborators and authors of the study are Marcus deAguiar and M. Baranger, both from New England Complex Systems Institute and E.M. Baptestini, of Universidade Estadual de Campinas in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Support for the research program came from the Marine Management Area Science Program of Conservational International and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Boston University Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. de Aguiar et al. Global patterns of speciation and diversity. Nature, 2009; 460 (7253): 384 DOI: 10.1038/nature08168

Cite This Page:

Boston University Medical Center. "Global Model For The Origin Of Species Independent Of Geographical Isolation." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 July 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090717150258.htm>.
Boston University Medical Center. (2009, July 20). Global Model For The Origin Of Species Independent Of Geographical Isolation. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090717150258.htm
Boston University Medical Center. "Global Model For The Origin Of Species Independent Of Geographical Isolation." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090717150258.htm (accessed March 28, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Lioness Has Rare Five-Cub Litter

Raw: Lioness Has Rare Five-Cub Litter

AP (Mar. 27, 2015) — A lioness in Pakistan has given birth to five cubs, twice the usual size of a litter. Queen gave birth to two other cubs just nine months ago. (March 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jockey Motion Tracking Reveals Racing Prowess

Jockey Motion Tracking Reveals Racing Prowess

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 26, 2015) — Using motion tracking technology, researchers from the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) are trying to establish an optimum horse riding style to train junior jockeys, as well as enhance safety, health and well-being of both racehorses and jockeys. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bear Cubs Tumble for the Media

Bear Cubs Tumble for the Media

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Mar. 26, 2015) — Two Andean bear cubs are unveiled at the U.S. National Zoo in Washington, D.C. Alicia Powell reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Botswana Talks to End Illegal Wildlife Trade

Botswana Talks to End Illegal Wildlife Trade

AFP (Mar. 25, 2015) — Experts are gathering in Botswana to try to end the illegal wildlife trade that is decimating populations of elephants, rhinos and other threatened species. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
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