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!
Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth
09.12.2016 | Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Plant-based substance boosts eyelash growth
09.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Polymerforschung IAP
Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.
Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...
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...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
09.12.2016 | Life Sciences
09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine