Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Ornithologists announce discovery of new bird species

17.03.2008
The announcement of the discovery of a new bird comes with a twist: It’s a white-eye, but its eye isn’t white. Still, what this new bird lacks in literal qualities it makes up for as one of the surprises that nature still has tucked away in little-explored corners of the world.

Ornithologists, including one from Michigan State University, describe for science a new species of bird from the Togian Islands of Indonesia – Zosterops somadikartai, or Togian white-eye, in the March edition of The Wilson Journal of Ornithology.

Its eye isn’t ringed in a band of white feathers like its cousins who flock in other remote tropical islands of Indonesia. Still, it has many features in common with the black-crowned white-eye Zosterops atrifrons of Sulawesi, which is clearly its closest relative, said MSU’s Pamela Rasmussen, an internationally known ornithologist specializing in Asian birds.

“What this discovery highlights is that in some parts of the world there are still virtually unexplored islands where few ornithologists have worked,” Rasmussen said. “The world still holds avian surprises for us.”

The Togian white-eye first was spotted by Mochamad Indrawan, an Indonesian field biologist at the Depok Campus of the University of Indonesia, and Sunarto (some Indonesians use a single name), who is now working on a doctorate at Virginia Tech, 12 years ago during their first trip to the Togian Islands.

Those first sightings were fleeting, but Indrawan and Sunarto returned and made several more observations of these active little green birds, and obtained the type specimen upon which the species’ description is now founded. The type specimen was then sent on loan to Rasmussen at the MSU Museum, so she could make detailed comparisons between it and related species at museums such as Britain’s Natural History Museum, the American Museum in New York and the Smithsonian Institution.

The new bird is believed to be endangered. The white-eye has been seen only near the coasts of three small islands of the Togian Islands in central Sulawesi. Unlike most white-eye species, it is evidently quite uncommon even in its very limited range. Considering its limited numbers and distribution, it falls into the World Conservation Union category of endangered. This finding also establishes the Togian Islands as an endemic bird area.

“This finding shows that equal opportunities are beneficial for the development of science and in particular that international cooperation can boost capacities in addressing poorly known biology in the tropics,” Indrawan said. “This finding of the bird is only the beginning given the vast opportunities with Indonesian landscapes and seascapes of endemic flora and fauna.”

The species is named for Soekarja Somadikarta, Indonesia’s leading taxonomist and mentor to Indrawan. Somadikarta was recently appointed honorary president for International Ornithological Congress XXV.

Rasmussen noted that the Togian white-eye is distinctive not only in appearance, but its lilting song, which Indrawan recorded and Rasmussen committed to sonogram, sounds higher pitched and is less varied in pitch than its close relatives.

Rasmussen is assistant curator of mammalogy and ornithology at the MSU Museum and an assistant professor of zoology. She recently authored a field guide Birds of South Asia: The Ripley Guide. On the way there, her work on uncovering the ornithological frauds of British Col. Richard Meinertzhagen has received international attention, detailed in Nature, the May 2006 The New Yorker, and The BestAmerican Science and Nature Writing 2007.

Michigan State University has been advancing knowledge and transforming lives through innovative teaching, research and outreach for more than 150 years. MSU is known internationally as a major public university with global reach and extraordinary impact. Its 17 degree-granting colleges attract scholars worldwide who are interested in combining education with practical problem solving.

Pamela Rasmussen | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.msu.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Value from wastewater
16.08.2017 | Hochschule Landshut

nachricht Species Richness – a false friend? Scientists want to improve biodiversity assessments
01.08.2017 | Carl von Ossietzky-Universität Oldenburg

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: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>