Using a technique called DNA barcoding, which involves the identification of species from a short DNA sequence, Weiblen and an international team of researchers studied populations of numerous moth and butterfly species across Papua New Guinea. DNA barcodes showed that migratory patterns and caterpillar diets are very dynamic. In one case, a tiny moth that is distributed from Taiwan to Australia, has recently crossed thousands of miles of Pacific Ocean.
The research, "Population genetics of ecological communities with DNA barcodes: An example from New Guinea Lepidoptera," was published in the Early Online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on March 1.
To view the complete article, visit http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/03/01/0913084107.full.pdf+html.
“DNA barcoding was developed for rapid identification but it also provides information about the habits and history of species,” Weiblen says. He says this technique is of particular interest in Papua New Guinea, a country slightly larger in size than California with an insect diversity more than three times that of the United States. “New Guinea is one of those special places on Earth where we know very little about its biodiversity. This rich natural environment is increasingly threatened by economic development, and I’m concerned about how much biodiversity might be lost before we’ve had a chance to understand it. DNA barcoding helps to increase the pace of discovery.”
Weiblen says that DNA barcoding can play an important role in studying the arrival of invasive species, such as the emerald ash borer, a species recently introduced from Asia. “We need to understand the genetic history of invasion in order to combat the pests that threaten trees and crops,” Weiblen says. “DNA barcoding can pinpoint the geographic source of an invading species and measure the distances over which pest species can travel.”
Weiblen is an associate professor of plant biology in the university’s College of Biological Sciences and a curator of plants in the Bell Museum, a unit of the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences. He has studied plant and insect diversity of Papua New Guinea’s forests for the past 17 years. Weiblen’s colleagues in the DNA barcoding study were researchers from the Smithsonian Institution, the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, the University of South Bohemia, Czech Republic, as well as the University of Minnesota.
Jeff Falk | EurekAlert!
Closing the carbon loop
08.12.2016 | University of Pittsburgh
Newly discovered bacteria-binding protein in the intestine
08.12.2016 | University of Gothenburg
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
08.12.2016 | Life Sciences
08.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
08.12.2016 | Materials Sciences