Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researcher discovers hybrid speciation in the Sierra Nevada

29.01.2007
University of Nevada, Reno researcher Matthew Forister is among a group of scientists that have documented an unusual type of speciation in the Sierra Nevada, including a hybrid species of butterfly that can trace its lineage as far back as almost a half a million years ago.

In a recently published article in the leading research journal Science, the discovery is one of the most convincing cases of this type of species formation that has ever been demonstrated in animals.

“Our genetic work is what really clinched the hybrid angle,” said Forister, a research professor in the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources’ Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Science. Forister explained that it has been known that two types of butterflies -- Lycaeides melissa and Lycaeides idas -- live in the Sierra, with the L. melissa living on the eastern slope of the Sierra and the L. idas living to the west. Forister’s team found that a third species of Lycaeides has evolved in the upper alpine reaches of the Sierra.

The team used molecular genetics to show that the “new” species carries genes from both parental species. The scientists estimate that about 440,000 years ago the L. melissa and L. idas came into contact in the Sierra. Their offspring, cut off from the rest of their clan, eventually evolved into a unique and genetically distinct species.

... more about:
»Forister »HYBRID »Sierra

“It’s interesting, because the alpine butterflies have wings that look like the butterflies from the eastern Sierra,” Forister said. “But their mitochondrial DNA more clearly resembles those from the western Sierra. When you think about all of the changes the world has undergone, and how parental species have moved in response to climate change and have possibly come into contact many times, you realize that the world is a messier place than you first thought.

“Ultimately, what we’ve studied highlights the importance of natural selection, and the more general idea that we are still learning many of the ways in which species are formed.”

Forister’s collaborators included UC-Davis professor Arthur Shapiro, Zachariah Gompert and Chris Nice of Texas State University and James Fordyce at the University of Tennessee. Shapiro is one of the world’s foremost butterfly experts. Forister did his graduate work at UC-Davis under Shapiro. His graduate work was funded by the National Science Foundation.

The team’s findings provide an important piece to the puzzle in the understanding of how animal species emerge. It is widely believed that plant species can be commonly created through such species crossing; hybrid species formation among animals, however, has been much less thoroughly studied.

Forister and his colleagues worked on some of the more barren reaches of the upper alpine in the vicinity of Lake Tahoe, plucking samples of blue (male) and brown (female) butterflies from the rocks and sparse alpine vegetation there. The samples were studied by the research members who worked to analyze the species’ DNA in a laboratory in Texas.

“We worked within a very narrow window because these butterflies are at their peak flight for only a few weeks in the middle of the summer,” Forister said.

The field work proved to be just as important as the laboratory work, as the team made important findings regarding the new species’ adaptive habits. Though the climate is extreme at high elevations and the flying season lasts only a matter of a few weeks, the researchers noted that the still-unnamed species seeks out a certain plant at the higher elevations. They use this host plant to lay their eggs. Their “parent’ butterflies of the eastern and western Sierra do not show the same affinity for this particular host plant, the balloonpod milkvetch. This was another critical illustration that a habitat and species shift had occurred.

By understanding how the “new” species lives, the research team is also adding to the scientific-based knowledge that could some day help preserve the butterfly’s habitat, Forister added. “Now that we’ve finished this part of the study, we’d like to turn our attention to some of the other ranges of the West, and investigate similar areas of overlap,” Forister said.

John Trent | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.unr.edu

Further reports about: Forister HYBRID Sierra

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Flow of cerebrospinal fluid regulates neural stem cell division
22.05.2018 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt

nachricht Chemists at FAU successfully demonstrate imine hydrogenation with inexpensive main group metal
22.05.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

Im Focus: Computer-Designed Customized Regenerative Heart Valves

Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich, the Technical University Eindhoven and the Charité Berlin have successfully implanted regenerative heart valves, designed with the aid of computer simulations, into sheep for the first time.

Producing living tissue or organs based on human cells is one of the main research fields in regenerative medicine. Tissue engineering, which involves growing...

Im Focus: Light-induced superconductivity under high pressure

A team of scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg investigated optically-induced superconductivity in the alkali-doped fulleride K3C60under high external pressures. This study allowed, on one hand, to uniquely assess the nature of the transient state as a superconducting phase. In addition, it unveiled the possibility to induce superconductivity in K3C60 at temperatures far above the -170 degrees Celsius hypothesized previously, and rather all the way to room temperature. The paper by Cantaluppi et al has been published in Nature Physics.

Unlike ordinary metals, superconductors have the unique capability of transporting electrical currents without any loss. Nowadays, their technological...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Supersonic waves may help electronics beat the heat

18.05.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Keeping a Close Eye on Ice Loss

18.05.2018 | Information Technology

CrowdWater: An App for Flood Research

18.05.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>