Navigation Links
Revealing the evolutionary history of threatened sea turtles
Date:10/15/2008

It's confirmed: Even though flatback turtles dine on fish, shrimp, and mollusks, they are closely related to primarily herbivorous green sea turtles. New genetic research carried out by Eugenia Naro-Maciel, a Marine Biodiversity Scientist at the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the American Museum of Natural History, and colleagues clarifies our understanding of the evolutionary relationships among all seven sea turtle species.

Naro-Maciel and colleagues used five nuclear DNA markers and two mitochondrial markers to test the evolutionary relationships of all species of marine turtlesleatherback, flatback, green, hawksbill, loggerhead, Kemp's Ridley, and Olive Ridleyand four 'outgroups,' or more distantly related animals. The results formed a well-supported phylogenetic tree, or cladogram, that tells the story of sea turtle evolution and is reported in the journal Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution.

"The evolution of a specialized diet appears to have occurred three times, independently," says Naro-Maciel. "Many sea turtles are carnivorous generalists. However, hawksbills tend to have a diet of glassthey eat toxic spongeswhile the leatherback consumes jellyfish and the green grazes mainly on algae or sea grass." Each of the species with specialized diets is positioned uniquely in the evolutionary tree.

Naro-Maciel and colleagues confirmed that one major group of sea turtles includes sister species flatback and green turtles (one carnivorous and the other herbivorous), while another clade is formed by the hawksbill, loggerhead, Kemp's Ridley and Olive Ridley turtles. The leatherback is confirmed as the most basal of all the sea turtles, and the Eastern Pacific green turtlethought by some to be a separate speciesfalls within the green turtle species. The branches of this evolutionary tree can be calibrated with time using the new phylogeny and DNA data: Even though the ancestor of all sea turtles arose over 100 million years ago, the separation between the flatback and green turtles happened about 34 million years ago.

Determining the evolutionary relationships among sea turtles as well as the species identity of different populations of this highly migratory group of animals has implications for conservation. All sea turtles are included on the IUCN's Red List of Threatened Species, some of them as critically endangered, and an accurate understanding of this highly migratory group is important.

"These research results are another example of the importance of using systematics and taxonomy as a way to prioritize conservation efforts and strategies," says George Amato, Director of the Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics at the Museum and an author of the article. "Only with these detailed studies can we better conserve the naturally occurring evolutionary novelty and patterns of genetic diversity for endangered species."


'/>"/>

Contact: Kristin Elise Phillips
kphillips@amnh.org
212-496-3419
American Museum of Natural History
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Illuminating biology: An evolutionary perspective
2. Milkweeds evolutionary approach to caterpillars: Counter appetite with fast repair
3. Revolutionary chefs? Not likely, shows physics research
4. Crossed (evolutionary) signals?
5. Mechanism and function of humor identified by new evolutionary theory
6. Revolutionary CO2 maps zoom in on greenhouse gas sources
7. M2SYS Introduces Revolutionary Biometric Artificial Intelligence Technology to Significantly Reduce Fingerprint Software False Reject Rates
8. Lemurs evolutionary history may shed light on our own
9. Dartmouth researchers find the root of the evolutionary emergence of vertebrates
10. Oldest Australian crayfish fossils provide missing evolutionary link
11. New book reveals an evolutionary journey of the human body
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Revealing the evolutionary history of threatened sea turtles
(Date:3/23/2016)... WAKEFIELD, Massachusetts , March 23, 2016 ... kombiniert im Interesse erhöhter Sicherheit Gesichts- und ... Xura, Inc. (NASDAQ: MESG ... heute bekannt, dass das Unternehmen mit SpeechPro ... insbesondere aus der Finanzdienstleistungsbranche, wird die Möglichkeit ...
(Date:3/21/2016)... Unique technology combines v ... security   Xura, Inc. ... digital communications services, today announced it is working alongside ... customers, particularly those in the Financial Services Sector, the ... within a mobile app, alongside, and in combination with, ...
(Date:3/15/2016)... --> --> ... Research "Digital Door Lock Systems Market - Global Industry Analysis, ... global digital door lock systems market in terms of revenue ... forecast to grow at a CAGR of 31.8% during the ... enterprises (MSMEs) across the world and high industrial activity driving ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/4/2016)... York, NY (PRWEB) , ... May 04, 2016 ... ... has leveraged recent innovations in biotechnology to help treat hormonal and stress related ... loss, Nutrafol® has captured the hearts of key opinion leaders in the medical ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... Boston, MA (PRWEB) , ... May 03, 2016 , ... ... ranked number 25 out of the state’s 76 fastest-growing private companies; a small percentage ... of Massachusetts, and ranked organizations on the percent change in revenue from 2012 to ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... , ... May 03, 2016 , ... ... accessibility to unique bioresearch materials from laboratories across the globe, today announced the ... to increase the pace of research toward treatment and prevention measures for the ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... , May 3, 2016  Dr. Thomas P. ... in The Woodlands, Texas , now ... percent of treated fat cells in just 25-minutes, leaving ... to 90 percent of Americans report feeling bothered by ... fat reduction procedures are a growing industry. This innovative ...
Breaking Biology Technology: