Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

CCNY biologists identify new spiny pocket mouse species

01.02.2010
Heteromys catopterius Discovered in Venezuela’s Coastal Range

Dr. Robert P. Anderson, Associate Professor of Biology at The City College of New York, and Ph.D. student Eliécer E. Gutiérrez have reported the existence of a new species of spiny pocket mouse, from Venezuela, Heteromys catopterius.

The name derives from the Greek katoptêrios, which means a “height that commands a view.” It was chosen for the new species in reference to its presence on four wet, mountainous forest regions of the rugged and steep-sided Cordillera de la Costa along the country’s northern coast.

“Most people are surprised to learn that new species of mammals are still being discovered,” Professor Anderson said. “Sometimes they are discovered based on genetic work, but this is a case where anatomical studies made it clear a species existed that had never been recognized by biologists before.”

Several features differentiate the Overlook Spiny Pocket Mouse from the more common Heteromys anomalus, known as the Caribbean Spiny Pocket Mouse. H. catopterius has darker fur and lacks the distinctly rounded ears of H. anomalus. In addition, its skull is wider and less elongated. The Overlook Spiny Pocket Mouse is found in elevations ranging from 350 to 2,450 meters above sea level, although mostly above 700 meters. In contrast, H. anomalus resides mostly in lowlands and lower elevations of the mountains of the region.

The findings were published in the “Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History,” in a Festschrift, a special volume in honor of Dr. Guy G. Musser, a curator at the museum who retired recently. The research was funded through a National Science Foundation grant.

In identifying a distinct species, researchers must look for data that indicate discrete morphologies, Professor Anderson explained. Further, they assess whether there is evidence for integration among the species.

“When you see gradual changes between locations, that is a sign that you do not have a distinct species,” he continued. “In this case, the species show very distinct morphology, even in the places where the vegetation types they inhabit come into contact.”

Professor Anderson, a leader in using GIS (geographic information systems) analysis to model species distributions (ranges), says his goal is to use the genus Heteromys as an example of how to integrate GIS, evolutionary biology and climate studies. With an aim toward conservation, he hopes to compare areas with suitable habitat for the species with the location of protected areas.

He and his collaborators at Brigham Young University and the Universidad Simón Bolívar are also currently performing genetic research to study evolutionary relationships in the genus. To complement this, Professor Anderson and his students are building GIS models of the species’ climatic requirements and applying them to reconstructions of past climates.

During the peak of the last Ice Age, when glaciers were extensive and temperatures were generally colder even in the tropics, distributions of this montane species were probably more contiguous, he explained. “We can take the same model of the species’ requirements and apply it to projections of future climate to predict what habitat will remain for the species as the climate gets warmer.”

He says it is likely that suitable habitats for this species will be reduced as a consequence of climate change. A GIS exercise studying the distribution of H. catopterius has been integrated into the laboratory of CCNY’s undergraduate biology course, “Ecology and Evolution.”

Contact: Ellis Simon, 212/650-6460, esimon@ccny.cuny.edu

Ellis Simon | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ccny.cuny.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery
20.01.2017 | GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH

nachricht Seeking structure with metagenome sequences
20.01.2017 | DOE/Joint Genome Institute

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

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...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | 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

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>