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 How does the loss of species alter ecosystems?
18.05.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

nachricht Excess diesel emissions bring global health & environmental impacts
16.05.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

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: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Physicists discover mechanism behind granular capillary effect

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Measured for the first time: Direction of light waves changed by quantum effect

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>