Navigation Links
Disappearing glaciers enhanced biodiversity

Biodiversity decreases towards the poles almost everywhere in the world, except along the South American Pacific coast. Investigating fossil clams and snails Steffen Kiel and Sven Nielsen at the Christian-Albrechts-Universitt zu Kiel (CAU) could show that this unusual pattern originated at the end of the last ice age, 20.000 to 100.000 years ago. The retreating glaciers created a mosaic landscape of countless islands, bays and fiords in which new species developed rapidly geologically speaking. The ancestors of the species survived the ice age in the warmer Chilean north.

The exceptional biodiversity of the southern Chilean coast is known for a long time. More than 500 species of clams and snails are known from this area, twice as many as at comparable latitudes in the northern hemisphere. The reasons for this diversity were so far speculative, report Kiel and Nielsen in the current issue of the scientific journal Geology: "Opinions include that southern Chile is a museum of diversity where species survived for millions of years in addition to new arrivals; or that Antarctic species colonized this area from the south." Their analysis of around 35.000 fossil clams and snails, belonging to about 400 species, allowed the paleontologists to draw some more precise conclusions: "Our fossils reject both hypotheses. Biodiversity in this area always decreased toward the south in the geologic past, and we didn't find any intruders from Antarctica", explains Steffen Kiel. In addition, the researchers found that the vast majority of species and genera that lived in that area only 16 million years ago had become extinct. "This area is certainly not a museum of biodiversity", adds Kiel.

The most species-rich groups of animals in the southern Chilean fiordlands are those inhabiting rocky shores. This is exactly the habitat that was created when the glacier retreated from their marine termini. "Molecular biologic investigations on phylogenetic relationships of these species show that they are geologically very young and descended from North Chilean ancestors. This agrees well with our results", says Sven Nielsen, who has been working on Chilean fossils for many years. "Charles Darwin, who was the first to discover fossils in this area during his voyage on the 'Beagle', would have been fascinated."

This research shows that for species conservation not only single, exceptional habitats need to be protected, but that a diversity of habitats needs be conserved to maintain a healthy biodiversity.


Contact: Dr. Sven Nielsen
Kiel University

Related biology news :

1. New research on rapidly disappearing ancient plant offers hope for species recovery
2. New research on rapidly-disappearing ancient plant offers hope for species recovery
3. Disappearing ducks?
4. Disappearing act of worlds second largest fish explained
5. Ancient Hawaiian glaciers reveal clues to global climate impacts
6. Black carbon a significant factor in melting of Himalayan glaciers
7. Shrinking Bylot Island glaciers tell story of climate change
8. Zymes LLCs Omega-3 Enhanced Water OmegaChill to be Distributed at NFL Alumni Super Bowl XLIV Weekend Events on February 5-7th, 2010
9. Quality and safety of infant formulas, functional foods enhanced by new standards
10. REGiMMUNE presents enhanced efficacy data in preclinical transplantation models
11. Early isolation linked to enhanced response to cocaine
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/11/2015)... , Nov. 11, 2015   MedNet Solutions , an ... of clinical research, is pleased to announce that it will ... Trials (PCT) event, to be held November 17-19 in ... to view live demonstrations of iMedNet , ... how iMedNet has been able to deliver time ...
(Date:11/10/2015)... , Nov. 10, 2015 ... behavioral biometrics that helps to identify and verify ... Signature is considered as the secure and accurate ... identification of a particular individual because each individual,s ... accurate results especially when dynamic signature of an ...
(Date:11/9/2015)... SAN JOSE, Calif. , Nov. 9, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... of human interface solutions, today announced broader entry into ... of vehicle-specific solutions that match the pace of consumer ... drivers, and biometric sensors are ideal for the automotive ... the vehicle. Europe , ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... Nov. 25, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna Zentaris Inc. (NASDAQ: ... business and prospects remain fundamentally strong and highlights ... doxorubicin) recently received DSMB recommendation to continue the ... review of the final interim efficacy and safety ... Endpoint in men with heavily pretreated castration- and ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... SAN DIEGO , Nov. 25, 2015 ... that management will participate in a fireside chat discussion ... New York . The discussion is ... Time. .  A replay will ... Contact:  Media Contact:McDavid Stilwell  , Julie NormartVP, Corporate ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... Francisco, CA (PRWEB) , ... November 25, 2015 ... ... microbial genomics company uBiome, were featured on AngelList early in their initial angel ... launching an AngelList syndicate for individuals looking to make early stage investments in ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... The United States Golf Association ... 2016 USGA Green Section Award. Presented annually since 1961, the USGA Green Section Award ... work with turfgrass. , Clarke, of Iselin, N.J., is an extension specialist ...
Breaking Biology Technology: