Their findings are being published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B in London on April 16.
Metrosideros, commonly called “ohi’a” in the Hawaiian Islands, has puzzled researchers for years. Although previously thought to be a newcomer to the islands, these plants are well integrated into the islands’ ecosystems. However, scientists from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian’s National Zoo now are able to show, through molecular research, that Metrosideros may have colonized the islands soon after they formed. If so, these plants would have played an important role in shaping the ecology of the islands from the beginning.
The isolated Hawaiian Islands are home to many unique and endemic species of plants and animals. To know how these species came to interact with one another and form functioning ecosystems, scientists must first know how and when each species came to be on the islands. This is particularly important in the case of Metrosideros—many species of birds and insects are specialized to coexist and feed on these plants. Knowing when Metrosideros dispersed and colonized the islands also will give scientists a better understanding of how and when the fauna that rely on them evolved.
Until now, no definitive phylogeographical study (combining evolutionary history with current distribution patterns in order to understand both) has been done on ecologically dominant species in this island group.
“What we are finding,” said Scott Miller, a Smithsonian scientist working on the project, “is a distinct geographical pattern that supports a hypothesis that these plants colonized the Hawaiian Islands sequentially as they formed.” This could prove that Metrosideros played a far more important role in Hawaii’s ecology than once thought.
Scientists at the Smithsonian will continue to research Metrosideros in Hawaii to further determine the plant’s historical colonization pattern and its influence and role in the biodiversity of the islands.
John Gibbons | EurekAlert!
The birth of a new protein
20.10.2017 | University of Arizona
Building New Moss Factories
20.10.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
20.10.2017 | Information Technology
20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research