HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
Islands spark accelerated evolution

The notion of islands as natural test beds of evolution is nearly as old as the theory itself. The restricted scale, isolation, and sharp boundaries of islands create unique selective pressures, often to dramatic effect. Following what's known as the "island rule," small animals evolve into outsize versions of their continental counterparts while large animals shrink. Giant tortoises and iguanas still inhabit the Galpagos and a few other remote islands today, but only fossils remain of the dwarf hippopotami, elephants, and deer that once lived on islands in Indonesia, the Mediterranean, and the Pacific Ocean. The fossil record suggests that these size changes occur rapidly after species become isolated on islands, but this long standing assumption has never been empirically examined in a systematic manner. Now, in a new study published in PLoS Biology, Virginie Millien confirms that island species undergo accelerated evolutionary changes over relatively short time frames, between decades and several thousand years.

Millien collected data from text, figures, and tables in an extensive survey of the published literature. From these datasets, she calculated a total of 826 evolutionary rates for 170 populations representing 88 species. Rates of evolutionary change, she found, decreased over time for both island and mainland species, with a slower rate of decrease for island species. The differences in evolutionary rates between island and mainland pairs also decreased over time, becoming statistically insignificant for intervals over 45,000 years. Overall, island species evolved faster than mainland species--a phenomenon that was most pronounced for intervals between 21 years through 20,000 years.

The finding that mammals evolve faster on islands, Millien argues, comports with the island evolution theory prediction that mammals respond to their new island homes with rapid morphological and size adaptations. The brisk pace of these changes may expla
'"/>

Contact: Natalie Bouaravong
press@plos.org
415-568-3445
Public Library of Science
11-Sep-2006


Page: 1 2

Related biology news :

1. World Wildlife Fund warns against iron dumping experiment near the Galapagos Islands
2. UF scientists discover new genus of frogmouth bird in Solomon Islands
3. New species and new records of marine species discovered in NW Hawaiian Islands
4. First Biodiversity Census of coral reef ecosystems in the NW Hawaiian Islands
5. Pacific Islands paradise protected
6. Introduced foxes transformed vegetation on Aleutian Islands from lush grasslands to tundra
7. Researchers learn what sparks plant growth
8. Food or its expectation sparks brains hunger centers
9. Nanogenerators may spark miniature machines
10. Global warming capable of sparking mass species extinctions
11. Molecular mechanism may explain how fevers spark seizures

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


(Date:4/5/2017)... , April 5, 2017 Today ... announcing that the server component of the HYPR platform ... for providing the end-to-end security architecture that empowers biometric ... HYPR has already secured over 15 million users ... including manufacturers of connected home product suites and physical ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... The research team of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University ... adopting ground breaking 3D fingerprint minutiae recovery and matching technology, pushing ... for use in identification, crime investigation, immigration control, security of access ... ... A research team led by Dr Ajay ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... , March 24, 2017 The Controller General of ... Mr. Abdulla Algeen have received the prestigious international IAIR Award ... Continue Reading ... ... and Deputy Controller Abdulla Algeen (small picture on the right) have received ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/21/2017)... ... April 21, 2017 , ... ... were the focus of researchers, engineers, product developers, and industry suppliers gathered last ... Sponsored by SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics , the ...
(Date:4/21/2017)... ... , ... Frederick Innovative Technology Center, Inc. (FITCI), a business ... earned a $77,518 grant from the Rural Maryland Council (RMC) to support refurbishment ... first incubator. A non-profit corporation, FITCI is a public-private partnership of the governments ...
(Date:4/20/2017)... Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY ) will ... of migraine at the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) ... in Boston . ... and patient outcomes data for galcanezumab in patients with ... migraine headache days among patients with episodic migraine. Lilly ...
(Date:4/20/2017)... ... 2017 , ... NetDimensions appoints Bill Mastin, a learning technology veteran, as its ... in the learning technologies industry, Mastin joins NetDimensions from the New York office of ... At LEO, Mastin served as SVP of the North America offices and prior to ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: