Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New taxon of Galápagos tortoise identified

28.07.2005


Unnamed taxon of Galapagos Tortoise


Distribution of tortoise taxa on Santa Cruz


Almost 150 years after Charles Darwin proposed a mechanism for biological evolution, previously unrecognized diversity has been discovered among the giant tortoises of the Galápagos, Geochelone nigra, whose distinctiveness was an inspiration in formulating the theory of natural selection.

The new taxon (species or sub-species) of Galápagos tortoise was characterized by a team of scientists led by Michael Russello, Adalgisa Caccone and Jeffrey Powell in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Yale. Conservation of its habitat is an immediate concern because the human population on the island of Santa Cruz is growing rapidly. The team emphasized the importance of accurate taxa identification for effective conservation policy and preservation of genetic diversity in a recent report in Biology Letters published by the Royal Society of London.

The current tortoise populations on the island of Santa Cruz, long believed to comprise a single taxon, are in fact, three genetically distinct lineages that are yet to be formally named.



While visible characteristics, like the shapes of their shells, were the basis for previous classification of the tortoises, this research team used a variety of molecular genetic and analytical tools including mitochondrial DNA analysis from extinct taxa. The comprehensive study of these tortoises throughout Galápagos made their discovery possible.

Currently 11 of the recognized 15 taxa of tortoise are living and continue to be endangered throughout the Galápagos. Only 2,000 – 4,000 individual tortoises remain on Santa Cruz, and there may be as few as 100 individuals of the new taxon.

"It is ironic that while Santa Cruz has the largest population of tortoises, it also has the largest human population --projected to double in the next eight years -- which is their greatest source of endangerment," said Russello. "Since accurate taxonomy is crucial for effective conservation policy, these results have fundamental importance for preserving the genetic and taxonomic diversity of these historically-significant reptiles."

Collaborators included Scott Glaberman at Yale, James P. Gibbs at the State University of New York (Syracuse), and Cruz Marquez at the Charles Darwin Research station, Santa Cruz, Ecuador. The study was funded through the ECOSAVE project of the Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies and a National Geographic grant.

Janet Rettig Emanuel | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.yale.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht When corals eat plastics
24.05.2018 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen

nachricht Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel

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: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

When corals eat plastics

24.05.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Surgery involving ultrasound energy found to treat high blood pressure

24.05.2018 | Medical Engineering

First chip-scale broadband optical system that can sense molecules in the mid-IR

24.05.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>