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 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: 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...

Im Focus: Repairing defects in fiber-reinforced plastics more efficiently

Fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP) are frequently used in the aeronautic and automobile industry. However, the repair of workpieces made of these composite materials is often less profitable than exchanging the part. In order to increase the lifetime of FRP parts and to make them more eco-efficient, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) and the Apodius GmbH want to combine a new measuring device for fiber layer orientation with an innovative laser-based repair process.

Defects in FRP pieces may be production or operation-related. Whether or not repair is cost-effective depends on the geometry of the defective area, the tools...

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

Multiregional brain on a chip

16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

New technology enables 5-D imaging in live animals, humans

16.01.2017 | Information Technology

Researchers develop environmentally friendly soy air filter

16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>