Although large evolutionary radiations producing many species have captured the attention of biologists, comparison of the sizes of evolutionary lineages show that unusually small groups with few species are more frequent than one would expect from a model of random speciation and extinction.
Among songbirds (Passeriformes), more than 30 of 106 tribe-level taxonomic groups have five or fewer species, compared to the average size of 54 species and a maximum of more than 10 times that number. The existence of so many small taxa suggests that these lineages must have unusually low rates of speciation and extinction compared to other songbirds. In an earlier analysis, Robert E. Ricklefs suggested that species in these small groups might avoid extinction by competitive exclusion because they are marginal both geographically and ecologically. In this new study, which will appear in the June 2005 issue of The American Naturalist, Ricklefs shows that species in small clades tend to have extreme morphology, in particular relatively long toes, sometimes in contrast with short legs, and small beaks. Such traits are associated with foraging on bark or rock surfaces or feeding from perched positions or in dense, shrubby vegetation. These are unusual habits for typically more active songbirds. How such marginal ecology slows the rates of species formation and extinction remains an open question.
Carrie Olivia Adams | EurekAlert!
Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds
26.05.2017 | Cornell University
How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system
26.05.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung
Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy