HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
Tropical scientists find fewer species than expected

class of animals known--scientists had assumed that each plant-eating insect species tended to feed on one or very few plant species. If true, the estimates of the number of herbivorous insects should be tied to the number of plant species.

"Instead, most insects turn out to be specialized not to plant species, but rather to a genus [grouping of species] or family [grouping of genera] of plants," Weiblen said. "Fewer effective plant 'hosts' means fewer herbivores. Where people had assumed that different insects' food sources overlapped very little, we found that many insects share their food plants with other insect species. There are actually few extreme specialists among tropical insect herbivores."

New Guinea's species diversity made the island an ideal laboratory for the study. Its tropical forests are about the same area as Texas but contain five percent of the world's biodiversity, Weiblen said. The island has 12,000 species of plants; in comparison, Weiblen's home state of Minnesota has only about 1200 species. The work began in 1994 with studies of the insects eating 15 species of figs--Weiblen's area of specialty--that co-occur in the rainforest. The study then expanded to include the mulberry family, which is related to figs, then members of the coffee family and more distantly related plants. The team used DNA sequences to sort out the evolutionary relationships between plants and looked at how insect species were distributed on them.

They found that the tropical forest plant community was dominated by clusters of closely related plant species and that insects tend to feed on multiple close relatives in a given plant genus or family. Because the number of insect species was tied to broader--and therefore less numerous--categories of plants, estimates of their numbers had to be diminished, Weiblen said. Once the estimate of herbivorous insects had been made, the researchers plugged that number into equations to estimate the total
'"/>

Contact: Deane Morrison
morri029@umn.edu
612-624-2346
University of Minnesota
24-Apr-2002


Page: 1 2 3

Related biology news :

1. Tropical legume could be alternative hay/forage crop for Texas
2. Tropical deforestation and global warming
3. Arthropods of Tropical Forests
4. Tropical Science for the 21st Century
5. A Magic Web: The Tropical Forest of Barro Colorado
6. Ira Rubinoff honored by the Association for Tropical Biology
7. Tropical forests under surveillance
8. Sessions on bioterrorism featured at Tropical Medicine Meeting
9. Tropical glaciers formed while earth was giant snowball
10. Chemistry in the Amazon: Tropical birds, Amazonian tribespeople derive medicinal benefits from insects, plants
11. Tropical tree distribution could have implications for forest management, conservation

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:2/5/2016)... , Feb. 5, 2016 ... addition of the "Global Facial Recognition ... --> http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/5kvw8m/global_facial ) has announced ... Recognition Market 2016-2020" report to their ... ( http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/5kvw8m/global_facial ) has announced the addition ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... Vigilant Solutions announces today that the ... Missouri solved two recent hit-and-run cases with ... Vigilant Solutions. Brian Wenberg explains, "I ... was walking out of a convenience store and witnessed an elderly male back ... striking his vehicle and leaving the scene.  In his ...
(Date:2/2/2016)... , Feb. 2, 2016 Checkpoint Inhibitors ... Rising Market Are you interested in the ... revenues for checkpoint inhibitors. Visiongain,s report gives those ... product and national level. Avoid falling behind ... progress, opportunities and revenues those emerging cancer therapies ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/11/2016)... , Feb. 11, 2016  Wellcentive today announced ... Portland, Oregon -based community care organization ... population health analytics, quality reporting and care management ... strengthen its team of quality managers, analysts and ... the provider groups serving FamilyCare members. ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... , ... February 11, 2016 , ... ... more than 150 years, continues today to pursue the highest level of accuracy ... analytical instruments: the AR9 Refractometer and the AR5 Refractometer. Accurate, reliable and ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ANNAPOLIS, Md. , Feb. 10, 2016  The ... E. Busch , has announced that University of Maryland ... MD, PhD, MBA and University of Maryland Medical System ... recipients of the "Speaker,s Medallion," the highest honor given ... House of Delegates. Dean Reece and ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... 2016  Allergan plc (NYSE: AGN ) a ... Saunders , Allergan,s CEO and President, will be featured ... at the RBC Capital Markets Healthcare Conference on Tuesday, ... New York Palace Hotel in New York, ... and can be accessed on Allergan,s Investor Relations web ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: