That's the take-home message of a paper published in this week's issue of the journal Science by researchers Ann Budd of the University of Iowa and John Pandolfi of the University of Queensland, Australia.
Budd and Pandolfi focus on understanding the biodiversity of reef-building corals--organisms that are highly diverse and seriously threatened.
Their work focuses on evolutionary processes documented in the fossil record over long time periods, a history that encompasses and shows the effects of global environmental change.
"The research demonstrates that the predominance of evolutionary innovation occurs at the outlying edges of Caribbean coral species ranges, as opposed to the well-connected central part of the Caribbean," said H. Richard Lane, program director in the National Science Foundation (NSF)'s Division of Earth Sciences, which funded the research along with NSF's Division of Environmental Biology.The scientists conclude that if coral reef conservation strategies protect only the centers of high species richness, they will miss important sources of evolutionary novelty during periods of global change.
"However, areas ranked highly for these factors may not represent regions of maximum evolutionary potential."
Budd and Pandolfi conducted their study by analyzing the relationship between geography and evolutionary innovation in a complex of Caribbean reef corals where morphological and genetic data match on species differences.
Based on a comparison of fossil corals and modern colonies, the scientists found that morphological disparity varies from the center to the edge of the Caribbean, and that lineages are static at well-connected central locations--but split or fuse in edge zones.
"The results show that edge zones are critical to biodiversity," Budd said.
The findings mirror those of studies of the molecular biogeography of sea urchins and other marine invertebrates, she said, and are important to understanding the evolutionary ecology of the sea under projected global climate change.
The scientists argue for a coral reef conservation strategy that not only takes into account biodiversity hotspots, but also focuses on evolutionary processes and the preservation of peripheral areas of species ranges, as well as connectivity among populations.
Cheryl Dybas | EurekAlert!
Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon
09.12.2016 | Wildlife Conservation Society
Successful calculation of human and natural influence on cloud formation
04.11.2016 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main
Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.
Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
09.12.2016 | Life Sciences
09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine