Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

1 moose, 2 moose: Scientist seeks correction in number of species

16.06.2009
It is a misinterpretation of the application of the bedrock of scientific naming with regard to the number of moose species that Kris Hundertmark, a University of Alaska Fairbanks wildlife geneticist at the Institute of Arctic Biology, seeks to correct.

The adoption of Carl Linnaeus' two-part, genus-species system of naming, called taxonomy, has been used for centuries on all described organisms on Earth and is considered one of the greatest triumphs in science.

Hundertmark will be presenting his research during the American Society of Mammalogists 89th Annual Meeting June 24-28 at UAF.

"When we give something its own name we're saying this is a unit of biodiversity that deserves to be conserved," Hundertmark said. "If you name something that doesn't deserve a name, you're wasting resources that could be spent on worthwhile groups."

The reference book Mammal Species of the World, which Hundertmark calls the "unofficial bible of what is a mammal species and what isn't," lists two species of moose. The two-species concept is based primarily on a difference in chromosome numbers and the physical structure, or morphology, of moose

Chromosomes are ranked and numbered by size, largest to smallest, and can be depicted in a standard format knows as a karyogram. A typical chromosome pair is shaped like an "X" connected at the middle, though some are V-shaped and connected at the apex. The karyogram for North American moose show 70 chromosome pairs. A Eurasian moose karyogram shows two V-shaped chromosomes that appear to have united to form one X-shaped chromosome resulting in 68 pairs.

"We've always known that North American moose have one more pair of chromosomes than Eurasian moose," Hundertmark said. "But it is a minor rearrangement rather than a functional difference."

The morphology argument is a nonstarter because similar physical differences exist among other animals considered one species and "… moose are distributed throughout the Northern Hemisphere and would be expected to exhibit regional variation in morphology," said Hundertmark.

One way of defining a species is whether two individuals can mate and produce viable offspring. If they can, they're the same species; if they can't, they're not. But transporting moose for breeding experiments is prohibitively expensive and according to Hundertmark it is not unreasonable to assume that the two types can interbreed until it is proven otherwise.

To test the two-species hypothesis, Hundertmark examined the DNA from moose tissue samples collected by colleagues around the world. He arranged the samples into two groups based on the two-species hypothesis and into three groups based on continent of origin - Europe, Asia and North America - and examined the distribution of genetic variation within and between groups.

"It turns out that there are actually three genetic groups of moose, not two, and the genetic differences among those groups do not rise to the level of separate species. It is just regional variation," Hundertmark said.

Marie Gilbert | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.alaska.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Joint research project on wastewater for reuse examines pond system in Namibia
19.12.2016 | Technische Universität Darmstadt

nachricht Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon
09.12.2016 | Wildlife Conservation Society

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

Im Focus: Bacterial Pac Man molecule snaps at sugar

Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.

The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...

Im Focus: Newly proposed reference datasets improve weather satellite data quality

UMD, NOAA collaboration demonstrates suitability of in-orbit datasets for weather satellite calibration

"Traffic and weather, together on the hour!" blasts your local radio station, while your smartphone knows the weather halfway across the world. A network of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Satellite-based Laser Measurement Technology against Climate Change

17.01.2017 | Machine Engineering

Studying fundamental particles in materials

17.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Multiregional brain on a chip

16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>