Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Dispersal, the key for understanding marine biodiversity

31.10.2016

Dispersal plays a key role to connect populations, and contrastingly, its moderate limitation is one of the main processes to maintain species coexistence and promote regional biodiversity. A study recently published in Scientific Reports has explored whether neutral theory predictions with respect to marine biological connectivity are correct or not.

Under the assumptions of Stephen P. Hubbell's neutral theory of biodiversity and Motoo Kimura's neutral theory of molecular evolution, dispersal limitation and demographic changes in populations due to chance (stochasticity) determine genetic and ecology drift, respectively.


This image shows wind dispersal in pelagic species.

Credit: © Luis Quinta

So these processes would shape not only the genetic structure of the populations within the space, but also the structure of communities and their spatial beta-diversity patterns. These aspects compared have scarcely been explored empirically in the marine ecosystem, in particular.

In a recent study published in Scientific Reports, a team comprising 17 scientists from 14 centres and led by the Spanish R&D centre AZTI have gathered large data sets on the genetic structure of populations (98 benthic macroinvertebrate species and 35 plankton species) and biogeographical data (2,193 benthic macroinvertebrate species and 734 plankton species) with the aim of confirming the predictions of the Hubbell and Kimura theories in marine biological connectivity.

"Better understanding the regional patterns of the populations and communities are essential aspects in protecting and managing marine biodiversity," explained Guillem Chust, an AZTI researcher. "With these data and based on the genetic differentiations relative to geographical distance and the diversity of species that comprise a community, we have been able to estimate the dispersal distances."

The most significant result found by this research team stems from the fact that "the estimated dispersal distances ranked the biological groups in the same order at both genetic and community levels, as predicted by organism dispersal ability and seascape connectivity, as predicted by the type of dispersal and the connectivity of the seascape it inhabits," stressed Chust.

Specifically, according to the results of the research, in the species that inhabit or are found associated with sediment (macrobenthos) and whose larvae are not dispersed in the plankton display shorter dispersal distances than those whose larvae are dispersed in the plankton. Likewise, both groups displayed smaller dispersal scales than the plankton species (including phyto- and zoo-plankton). This range of dispersion scales is associated with the limitations of movement by the macrobenthos on the seabed, compared with the pelagic habitat where the plankton populations are more connected through the marine currents owing to passive dispersal.

These results show that "the limitation in the dispersal of individuals similarly determines the degree of connectivity not only of species between communities but also of the genes in the subpopulations of the same species, thus supporting the predictions of the neutral theories in marine biodiversity patterns," says the AZTI researcher. "Dispersal therefore emerges as a key element in generating biogeographical distribution patterns above other processes also involved, such as environmental differentiation by ecological niche and speciation through natural selection," he concluded.

###

This piece of research has been conducted within the framework of the DEVOTES European project (DEVelopment Of innovative Tools for understanding marine biodiversity and assessing good Environmental Status; http://www.devotes-project.eu), coordinated by Basque research institute AZTI.

Reference:

Chust, G., E. Villarino, A. Chenuil, X. Irigoien, N. Bizsel, A. Bode, C. Broms, S. Claus, M. L. Fernández de Puelles, S. Fonda-Umani, G. Hoarau, M. G. Mazzocchi, P. Mozetič, L. Vandepitte, H. Veríssimo, S. Zervoudaki, and A. Borja. 2016. Dispersal similarly shapes both population genetics and community patterns in the marine realm. Scientific Reports 6:28730.

Irati Kortabitarte | EurekAlert!

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Could this protein protect people against coronary artery disease?
17.11.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care

nachricht Microbial resident enables beetles to feed on a leafy diet
17.11.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth

17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures

17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change

17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>