Navigation Links
Philippines may have more unique bird species: CCNY biologist
Date:10/20/2010

Recent work by Dr. David Lohman, assistant professor of biology at The City College of New York, suggests the Philippines, considered by biologists to be a "biodiversity hotspot," could have more unique species of birds than previously thought. If that proves to be the case, it could have important ramifications for conservation practices there.

Many of the animal species found in the Philippines are endemic to this nation, which is made up of more than 7,100 islands. For example, 64 percent of its land mammal species and 77 percent of its amphibians are not found anywhere else. However, only 31 percent of its bird species are considered Philippines-only.

To test whether the Philippines' bird fauna might include unrecognized distinct species, Professor Lohman studied seven species of small, perching birds that are found in that country and elsewhere in Southeast Asia. Through a series of genetics tests to reconstruct evolutionary histories and identify genetic differences, he found that samples from Philippines populations of the species were always distinct from samples from other parts of Southeast Asia.

"These unique genetic lineages were unknown before, however, our research hasn't gone far enough to say these are new species," Professor Lohman said. "More rigorous analysis of the morphology may be needed to make that determination."

Traditionally, taxonomists have used plumage color and markings to identify species of birds, he noted. "Those features are not ideal, since closely related but distinct species can look similar." As an island-bound nation several hundred miles from Asia's mainland, the Philippines' passerine populations are not likely to have much contact with those of other landmasses.

"While there are differences of opinion over whether these birds constitute new species, there are unique genetic lineages that were unknown before," he added.

Nevertheless, he maintains the findings highlight the need to conserve habitats for these and other species in a nation that has lost 75 percent of its forests. "In no other place on this planet is conservation more crucial than in the Philippines. While the species we studied are not in danger of extinction, other undiscovered species might be."

Professor Lohman's findings were published in the journal "Biological Conservation."

Recent work by Dr. David Lohman, assistant professor of biology at The City College of New York, suggests the Philippines, considered by biologists to be a "biodiversity hotspot," could have more unique species of birds than previously thought. If that proves to be the case, it could have important ramifications for conservation practices there.

Many of the animal species found in the Philippines are endemic to this nation, which is made up of more than 7,100 islands. For example, 64 percent of its land mammal species and 77 percent of its amphibians are not found anywhere else. However, only 31 percent of its bird species are considered Philippines-only.

To test whether the Philippines' bird fauna might include unrecognized distinct species, Professor Lohman studied seven species of small, perching birds that are found in that country and elsewhere in Southeast Asia. Through a series of genetics tests to reconstruct evolutionary histories and identify genetic differences, he found that samples from Philippines populations of the species were always distinct from samples from other parts of Southeast Asia.

"These unique genetic lineages were unknown before, however, our research hasn't gone far enough to say these are new species," Professor Lohman said. "More rigorous analysis of the morphology may be needed to make that determination."

Traditionally, taxonomists have used plumage color and markings to identify species of birds, he noted. "Those features are not ideal, since closely related but distinct species can look similar." As an island-bound nation several hundred miles from Asia's mainland, the Philippines' passerine populations are not likely to have much contact with those of other landmasses.

"While there are differences of opinion over whether these birds constitute new species, there are unique genetic lineages that were unknown before," he added.

Nevertheless, he maintains the findings highlight the need to conserve habitats for these and other species in a nation that has lost 75 percent of its forests. "In no other place on this planet is conservation more crucial than in the Philippines. While the species we studied are not in danger of extinction, other undiscovered species might be."

Professor Lohman's findings were published in the journal "Biological Conservation."


'/>"/>

Contact: Ellis Simon
esimon@ccny.cuny.edu
212-650-6460
City College of New York
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Cotecna Philippines Accredited as Bulk and Break Bulk Surveyor
2. The Philippines triples its rice yield
3. European researchers harness unique properties of boron to develop new drugs and diagnostics
4. Caltech geobiologists discover unique magnetic death star fossil
5. GUMC and Oak Ridge National Labs announce unique research partnership
6. NC State takes research lead in protecting Puerto Ricos unique freshwater fisheries
7. Unique transatlantic tie-up to understand the aging process
8. Researchers find pathway and enzyme unique to tularemia organism
9. Rots unique wood degrading machinery to be harnessed for better biofuels production
10. Weizmann Institute scientists develop a unique approach for splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen
11. Climate change threatens Lake Baikals unique biota
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/26/2016)... DUBLIN , April 27, 2016 ... of the  "Global Multi-modal Biometrics Market 2016-2020"  report ... ) , The analysts forecast ... a CAGR of 15.49% during the period 2016-2020.  ... a number of sectors such as the healthcare, ...
(Date:4/13/2016)... 13, 2016  IMPOWER physicians supporting Medicaid patients in ... new clinical standard in telehealth thanks to a new ... higi platform, IMPOWER patients can routinely track key health ... mass index, and, when they opt in, share them ... to a local retail location at no cost. By ...
(Date:3/22/2016)... 2016 According to ... for Consumer Industry by Type (Image, Motion, Pressure, ... & IT, Entertainment, Home Appliances, & Wearable ... 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the market for ... USD 26.76 Billion by 2022, at a ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016   Boston Biomedical ... novel compounds designed to target cancer stemness pathways, ... been granted Orphan Drug Designation from the U.S. ... of gastric cancer, including gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancer. ... designed to inhibit cancer stemness pathways by targeting ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital has signed ... to serve as their official health care provider. ... will provide sponsorship support, athletic training services, and ... volunteers, athletes and families. "We are ... and to bring Houston Methodist quality services and ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016  The Biodesign Challenge (BDC), a university ... to harness living systems and biotechnology, announced its winning ... New York City . ... showcased projects at MoMA,s Celeste Bartos Theater during the ... MoMA,s senior curator of architecture and design, and ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 , ... STACS DNA ... Technical Leader at the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory, has joined STACS DNA as a ... STACS DNA team,” said Jocelyn Tremblay, President and COO of STACS DNA. “In further ...
Breaking Biology Technology: