Navigation Links
Predicting the distribution of creatures great and small
Date:7/17/2008

In studying how animals change size as they evolve, biologists have unearthed several interesting patterns. For instance, most species are small, but the largest members of a taxonomic group -- such as the great white shark, the Komodo dragon, or the African elephant are often thousands or millions of times bigger than the typical species. Now for the first time two SFI researchers explain these patterns within an elegant statistical framework.

"The agreement between our model and real-world data is surprisingly close," says SFI Postdoctoral Fellow Aaron Clauset, who, along with SFI Professor Douglas Erwin, presented the findings in a July 18 Science paper.

In Clauset and Erwin's model, descendant species are close in size to their ancestors, but with some amount of random variation. But, this variation is constrained, first by a hard limit on how small a species can become, due to physiological constraints, and second by a soft limit on how large a species can become before becoming extinct. After millions of virtual years of new species evolving and old species becoming extinct, the model reaches an equilibrium in which the tendency of species to grow larger is offset by their tendency to become extinct more quickly.

By using fossil data on extinct mammals from up to 60 million years ago to specify the form of the model, the researchers showed that this evolutionary process accurately reproduces the diversity of 4,000 mammal species from the last 50,000 years.

"The model is remarkably compact, " says Aaron. "It also omits many traditional ideas from evolution and ecology, such as population dynamics or species interactions, yet makes very accurate predictions."

Because species size is fundamentally related to so many other characteristics like metabolism, life span and habitat, the researchers' simple evolutionary model offers support to idea that some aspects of evolutionary and ecological theory can be unified.


'/>"/>

Contact: Aaron Clauset
aaronc@santafe.edu
Santa Fe Institute
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Trial seeks genetic fingerprint for predicting drug effectiveness
2. Predicting growth hormone treatment success
3. Predicting the radiation risk to ESAs astronauts
4. Predicting the perfect predator
5. Weizmann Institute scientists discover: A risk distribution law for evolution
6. Closeness is not a problem: New ways to handle spatial dependencies in species distributions
7. Massive dinosaur discovered in Antarctica sheds light on life, distribution of sauropodomorphs
8. Variable light illuminates the distribution of picophytoplankton
9. Scientists find how amber becomes death trap for watery creatures
10. Sydney harbors deadly diet for sea creatures
11. Childhood obesity indicates greater risk of school absenteeism, Penn study reveals
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:8/15/2017)... HAMPTON, Va. , Aug. 15 2017   ivWatch LLC ... effectiveness of intravenous (IV) therapy, today announced receipt of its ISO ... (QMS) developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO®). ... ivWatch Model 400 Continuous Monitoring device for ... "This ...
(Date:6/23/2017)... N.Y. , June 23, 2017  IBM (NYSE: ... dairy research, today announced a new collaboration using next-generation ... chances that the global milk supply is impacted by ... Cornell University has become the newest academic institution to ... a food safety initiative that includes IBM Research, Mars, ...
(Date:5/16/2017)... TEANECK, N.J. , May 16, 2017  Veratad ... leading provider of online age and identity verification solutions, ... the K(NO)W Identity Conference 2017, May 15 thru May ... Ronald Regan Building and International Trade Center. ... across the globe and in today,s quickly evolving digital ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... BioMarketing, a leading provider of patient support solutions, has announced ... network, which will launch this week. The VMS CNEs will ... to enhance the patient care experience by delivering peer-to-peer education ... professionals to help women who have been diagnosed and are ... ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... ... granted orphan drug designation to SBT-100, its novel anti-STAT3 (Signal Transducer and Activator ... osteosarcoma. SBT-100 is able to cross the cell membrane and bind intracellular STAT3 ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 10, 2017 , ... Dr. Bob ... at his local San Diego Rotary Club. The event entitled “Stem ... CA and had 300+ attendees. Dr. Harman, DVM, MPVM was joined by two ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 10, 2017 , ... ... recipients of 13 prestigious awards honoring scientists who have made ... in a scheduled symposium during Pittcon 2018, the world’s leading conference and exposition ...
Breaking Biology Technology: