Species pairs that disappear through hybridization after human-induced changes to the environment can reemerge if the disturbance is removed, according to a new mathematical model that shows the conditions under which reemergence might happen.
The findings, published in the journal Evolution, are important for conservationists and ecosystem managers interested in preserving, or even restoring, systems that have been disturbed by human activity.
By simulating environmental disturbances that reduce the ability of individuals to identify and select mates from their own species, the model explores the mechanisms that cause hybridization between closely-related species. Hybridization can lead to population decline and the loss of biodiversity. For instance, certain species of stickleback fish have collapsed into hybrid swarms as water clarity in their native lakes has changed, and certain species of tree frogs have collapsed as vegetation has been removed around their shared breeding ponds. Such hybrid swarms can replace the original species.
"What is happening isn't just speciation in reverse. The model shows that populations after collapse are likely to be different from the parental populations in ways that affect the future evolution of the system," said Tucker Gilman, postdoctoral fellow at the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis and the paper's lead author.
According to the model, the reemergence of species pairs was more likely when disturbances were strong than when they were weak, and most likely when disturbances were quickly corrected. However, even temporary bouts of hybridization often led to substantial homogenization of species pairs. This suggests that ecosystem managers may be able to refill ecological niches, but probably won't be able to resurrect lost species after species collapse.
"The encouraging news from an ecosystems service point of view is that, if we act quickly, we may be able to refill ecological niches emptied by species collapse. However, even if we can refill the niches, we probably won't be able to bring back the same species that we lost," Gilman said.
Citation: Gilman RT, Behm JE. 2011. Hybridization, species collapse, and species reemergence after disturbance to premating mechanisms of reproductive isolation. Evolution. Article first published online: 29 APR 2011. DOI: 10.1111/j.1558-5646.2011.01320.x
The National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS) brings together researchers from around the world to collaborate across disciplinary boundaries to investigate solutions to basic and applied problems in the life sciences. NIMBioS is sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture with additional support from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
Catherine Crawley | EurekAlert!
The personality factor: How to foster the sharing of research data
06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft
Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
22.09.2017 | Life Sciences
22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering
22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy