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 International network connects experimental research in European waters
21.03.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)

nachricht World Water Day 2017: It doesn’t Always Have to Be Drinking Water – Using Wastewater as a Resource
17.03.2017 | ISOE - Institut für sozial-ökologische Forschung

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: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>