Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Hawaii is not an evolutionary dead end for marine life, snail study finds

Date:
July 2, 2011
Source:
University of Hawaii at Manoa
Summary:
The question of why there are so many species in the sea and how new species form remains a central question in marine biology. Below the waterline, about 30% of Hawaii's marine species are endemic – being found only in Hawaii and nowhere else on Earth – one of the highest rates of endemism found worldwide. But where did this diversity of species come from? In a new study of limpets, cone-shaped marine snails, researchers have demonstrated that Hawaii is not an evolutionary dead end for marine species.

The question of why there are so many species in the sea and how new species form remains a central question in marine biology. Below the waterline, about 30% of Hawai'i's marine species are endemic -- being found only in Hawai'i and nowhere else on Earth -- one of the highest rates of endemism found worldwide. But where did this diversity of species come from?

Hawai'i is famous for its adaptive radiations (the formation of many species with specialized lifestyles from a single colonist) above the water line. Still, spectacular examples of adaptive radiations such as Hawaiian honeycreeper birds and fruit flies are not found in Hawaiian waters. Marine species were thought to colonize Hawaii and eventually diverge into an isolated native species, but were doomed to an evolutionary "dead end" with no further specialization and speciation.

Dr. Chris Bird and fellow researchers at the Hawai'i Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB), however, have shown that Hawai'i hosts three limpets (cone-shaped marine snails, locally known as 'opihi) that defy classification as dead-enders. The standard explanation for three species of 'opihi is that Hawai'i was independently colonized three times; however, using DNA, fossil, and geologic evidence, Dr. Bird has shown that Hawai'i was successfully colonized only once by Japanese limpets, approximately 5 million years ago. The 'opihi then speciated within the Hawaiian Archipelago along an ecological gradient, as they invaded deeper habitats, forming the three species that we observe today (in order from shallow to deep) 'opihi makai'auli, 'opihi 'alinalina, 'opihi ko'ele.

Bird proposes that differences in the timing of sperm and egg production and the ability to survive at particular shore levels led to the 'opihi radiation. While 'opihi may look similar to the untrained eye, Bird demonstrates that each species possesses novel evolutionary adaptations that confer an advantage at a particular shore level, a hallmark signature of natural selection and adaptive radiation. Bird states "the research on 'opihi give us better insight to the processes that produce biodiversity, especially in the ocean where the speciation process is not well understood." Prior to this report, no marine radiations had been found in Hawai'i. Bird continues, "these studies reset the bar for what is considered possible in marine speciation." Is Hawai'i an evolutionary dead end for marine speciation? The humble 'opihi say "no."

Collection and monitoring of the 'opihi is the result of a unique partnership bringing together scientists, traditional cultural practitioners, resource managers from the State of Hawai'i, The Nature Conservancy and community volunteers. Working with the community allows scientists to incorporate crucial information passed down through generations of Native Hawaiians. Monitoring sites surveyed to date include the Big Island of Hawai'i, the Maui Nui complex, O'ahu, and several remote sites in the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, the largest marine protected area under U.S. jurisdiction.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Christopher E. Bird, Brenden S. Holland, Brian W. Bowen, Robert J. Toonen. Diversification of sympatric broadcast-spawning limpets (Cellana spp.) within the Hawaiian archipelago. Molecular Ecology, 2011; 20 (10): 2128 DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2011.05081.x

Cite This Page:

University of Hawaii at Manoa. "Hawaii is not an evolutionary dead end for marine life, snail study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 July 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110701182138.htm>.
University of Hawaii at Manoa. (2011, July 2). Hawaii is not an evolutionary dead end for marine life, snail study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110701182138.htm
University of Hawaii at Manoa. "Hawaii is not an evolutionary dead end for marine life, snail study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110701182138.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) Dairy farmers and ethnic groups in Vermont are both benefiting from a unique collaborative effort that's feeding a growing need for fresh and affordable goat meat. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Andy Dixon showed the Daily Mail a screenshot of what he believes to be the mythical beast swimming just below the lake's surface. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Not only are these newly discovered bugs' sex organs reversed, but they also mate for up to 70 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. 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:
from the past week

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