Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Extinctions reduce speciation

Date:
April 4, 2014
Source:
Ume universitet
Summary:
The same factors that increase the risk of species extinctions also reduce the chance that new species are formed. We often see alarming reports about the global biodiversity crisis through the extinction of species. The reasons why species become extinct is much discussed, particularly the consequences of human activities. Less often discussed is how environmental changes affect the chances that new species are formed.

The same factors that increase the risk of species extinctions also reduce the chance that new species are formed. This is concluded by two biologists at Ume University. Their findings are published in the April issue of the scientific journal Evolution.

We often see alarming reports about the global biodiversity crisis through the extinction of species. The reasons why species become extinct is much discussed, particularly the consequences of human activities. Less often discussed is how environmental changes affect the chances that new species are formed.

New species arise when groups of individuals within a species successively become so different that they eventually are recognized as separate species, usually defined as inability to interbreed and produce fertile offspring. Differences can arise in several ways. Groups could become isolated from each other on either side of barriers, for example a mountain range, or they can adapt to different conditions by natural selection. How often new species form varies dramatically among organism groups and regions. Researchers have, so far, attributed this variation to differences in the strength of the forces that cause the differences.

Now, Ume researchers Mats Dynesius and Roland Jansson argue that there is another very important reason for the variation in speciation probability: The groups within a species that may eventually become separate species must persist over long periods of time.

"If they die out or mix with other groups before they become separate species, there will be no speciation," says Mats Dynesius, Associate Professor at the Department of Ecology and Environmental Science. "The risk that they do not survive long enough as separate groups is generally large, but varies among groups. The differences in risk depend on the organism's characteristics and on the environment they live in."

One of the researchers' conclusions is that the characteristics of the species and their environment that increase their risk of dying out also results in fewer new species being formed. Another conclusion is that certain factors, which increase the chance that groups become more different and eventually evolve into separate species, can simultaneously increase the risk that the groups go extinct. One such factor is poor dispersal ability.

The new approach could change the way scientists look at how characteristics of organisms and environments affect species' tendency to multiply.

"Studies on speciation should take into account the factors that influence the longevity of the groups within a species, which could ultimately become separate species," says Roland Jansson, Associate Professor at the Department of Ecology and Environmental Science. "I think that would lead to a much better understanding of how Earth's biodiversity was built and why there are so many species in certain groups of organisms and in some regions and so few in others."

"Our approach will also make it easier to preserve opportunities for new species to arise in the future," says Mats Dynesius. For example, scientists have recently drawn attention to how the impact of humans on the Galapagos Islands may have caused different groups of finches, which could have become new species, have instead mixed with each other."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ume universitet. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Mats Dynesius, Roland Jansson. PERSISTENCE OF WITHIN-SPECIES LINEAGES: A NEGLECTED CONTROL OF SPECIATION RATES. Evolution, 2014; 68 (4): 923 DOI: 10.1111/evo.12316

Cite This Page:

Ume universitet. "Extinctions reduce speciation." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140404085544.htm>.
Ume universitet. (2014, April 4). Extinctions reduce speciation. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140404085544.htm
Ume universitet. "Extinctions reduce speciation." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140404085544.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Newsy (July 28, 2014) The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck at the worst time for them. A new study says that if it hit earlier or later, they might've survived. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
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