Navigation Links
Hamlet fish sheds light on evolution of marine species

To evolve or not to evolve? That is the question scientists at the University of East Anglia (UEA) are closer to answering following a groundbreaking new study into the colourful hamlet fish.

Little is known about the way species evolve in the vast marine environment. The new findings, published online today by the journal Global Ecology and Biogeography, significantly improve our understanding of speciation the evolutionary process by which new species arise.

The hamlets are a group of colourful coral reef fish found throughout the Caribbean. Ten species of hamlet have been discovered and each can be easily recognized by its own distinct colour pattern. In some areas, as many as seven varieties can be found on a single reef. However, most hamlet species are only found at specific locations. The blue hamlet, for example, is found only in the Florida region.

It had previously been believed that these different species evolved because of geographical separation. For example, it was thought that falling sea levels in the past could have divided the original species. Then, when levels increased, the differently evolved species were thrown back together.

The new study by ecologists at UEA and Simon Fraser University in Canada found little evidence for this theory and instead suggests that hamlet colour varieties could have evolved regardless of any physical separation.

Using thousands of underwater surveys made by SCUBA divers as part of the REEF volunteer survey project (, the researchers analysed distributions of the ten different hamlet species. They found that even widespread hamlet species are not found everywhere, and identified high density hotspots for each species.

Since different species hotspots overlap and many species have more than one hotspot, the results do not support the theory that hamlets originated independently when they were geographically separated in the past. The research also showed how ecological factors, such as competition for food or habitat, may influence how different hamlet species co-exist.

"Our findings suggest that ecology may better explain the evolution of hamlets than geographical separation," said lead author Dr Ben Holt of UEA's School of Biological Sciences.

"Many scientists believe hamlets are beginning to evolve into a new species and this latest discovery will shed light on this process."


Contact: Simon Dunford
University of East Anglia

Related biology news :

1. Key piece of puzzle sheds light on function of ribosomes
2. Glacial watersheds may contribute to oceanic food web
3. Michigan State University study sheds light on microscopic flower petal ridges
4. Study sheds light on evolution of human complexity
5. Australian study sheds light on kidney repair and disease
6. URI researcher sheds light on man-eating squid; finds them timid, nonthreatening
7. URI researcher sheds light on man-eating squid; finds them timid, non-threatening
8. 2000-year-old statue of an athlete sheds light on corrosion and other modern challenges
9. Study of agricultural watersheds and carbon losses
10. Canadian synchrotron conference sheds light on new biomedical research
11. Avian flu research sheds light on swine flu outbreak
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/29/2015)... ARBOR, Mich. , Oct. 29, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... Eurofins Genomics for U.S. distribution of its DNA ... DNA-seq kit and Rubicon,s new ThruPLEX Plasma-seq kit. ... to enable the preparation of NGS libraries for ... plasma for diagnostic and prognostic applications in cancer ...
(Date:10/27/2015)... , Oct. 27, 2015 In the present ... of concern for various industry verticals such as banking, ... to the growing demand for secure & simplified access ... ,sectors, such as hacking of bank accounts, misuse of ... equipment such as PC,s, laptops, and smartphones are expected ...
(Date:10/26/2015)... LAS VEGAS , Oct. 26, 2015 ... an innovator in modern authentication and a founding member ... launch of its latest version of the Nok Nok™ ... to use standards-based authentication that supports existing and emerging ... Suite is ideal for organizations deploying customer-facing applications that ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015 HemoShear Therapeutics, ... discovering drugs for metabolic disorders, announced today the ... its Board of Directors (BOD). Mr. Watkins is ... Human Genome Sciences (HGS), and also served as ... Jim Powers , Chairman and CEO of ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , November 24, 2015 , ... in a European healthcare ... the companies will work closely together in identifying European breakthrough ... medical need. The collaboration is underpinned by a significant investment ... This is the first investment by Bristol-Myers Squibb in a ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... According to two new studies, fewer men are ... that many doctors, scientists, and public health experts have been ... PSA tests being done, will there be more men dying ... Samadi, "Despite the efforts made in regards to early ... cancer cause of death in men, killing approximately 27,500 men ...
(Date:11/23/2015)... THOUSAND OAKS, Calif., Nov. 23, 2015   Ceres, ... company, announced today financial results for the fiscal year ... its business. --> --> ... on commercializing forage and feed products with a better ... the company signed distribution agreements with several leading crop ...
Breaking Biology Technology: