Navigation Links
Scientists discover that Hawai'i is not an evolutionary dead end for marine life

The question of why there are so many species in the sea and how new species form remains a central question in marine biology. Below the waterline, about 30% of Hawai'i's marine species are endemic being found only in Hawai'i and nowhere else on Earth one of the highest rates of endemism found worldwide. But where did this diversity of species come from? Hawai'i is famous for its adaptive radiations (the formation of many species with specialized lifestyles from a single colonist) above the water line. Still, spectacular examples of adaptive radiations such as Hawaiian honeycreeper birds and fruit flies are not found in Hawaiian waters. Marine species were thought to colonize Hawaii and eventually diverge into an isolated native species, but were doomed to an evolutionary "dead end" with no further specialization and speciation.

Dr. Chris Bird and fellow researchers at the Hawai'i Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB), however, have shown that Hawai'i hosts three limpets (cone shaped marine snails, locally known as 'opihi) that defy classification as dead-enders. The standard explanation for three species of 'opihi is that Hawai'i was independently colonized three times; however, using DNA, fossil, and geologic evidence, Dr. Bird has shown that Hawai'i was successfully colonized only once by Japanese limpets, approximately 5 million years ago. The 'opihi then speciated within the Hawaiian Archipelago along an ecological gradient, as they invaded deeper habitats, forming the three species that we observe today (in order from shallow to deep) 'opihi makai'auli, 'opihi 'alinalina, 'opihi ko'ele. Bird proposes that differences in the timing of sperm and egg production and the ability to survive at particular shore levels led to the 'opihi radiation. While 'opihi may look similar to the untrained eye, Bird demonstrates that each species possesses novel evolutionary adaptations that confer an advantage at a particular shore level, a hallmark signature of natural selection and adaptive radiation. Bird states "the research on 'opihi give us better insight to the processes that produce biodiversity, especially in the ocean where the speciation process is not well understood". Prior to this report, no marine radiations had been found in Hawai'i. Bird continues, "these studies reset the bar for what is considered possible in marine speciation." Is Hawai'i an evolutionary dead end for marine speciation? The humble 'opihi say "no".

Collection and monitoring of the 'opihi is the result of a unique partnership bringing together scientists, traditional cultural practitioners, resource managers from the State of Hawai'i, The Nature Conservancy and community volunteers. Working with the community allows scientists to incorporate crucial information passed down through generations of Native Hawaiians. Monitoring sites surveyed to date include the Big Island of Hawai'i, the Maui Nui complex, O'ahu, and several remote sites in the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, the largest marine protected area under U.S. jurisdiction.


Contact: Carlie Wiener
University of Hawaii at Manoa

Related biology news :

1. Scientists develop method to determine order of mutations that lead to cancer
2. USC scientists uncover mechanism by which chronic stress causes brain disease
3. UCLA stem cell scientists discover new airway stem cell
4. Johns Hopkins scientists expose cancer cells universal dark matter
5. Lithuanian scientists clean up at 2011 EUREKA Innovation Award
6. Scientists a step closer to understanding natural antifreeze molecules
7. Scientists uncover an unhealthy herds hypothesis
8. Qld fruit fly scientists in race against time
9. UC Riverside neuroscientists discovery could bring relief to epilepsy sufferers
10. Scientists breakthrough attracts new funding for high blood pressure research
11. Scientists develop a fatty kryptonite to defeat multidrug-resistant Super bugs
Post Your Comments:
(Date:4/19/2017)... York , April 19, 2017 ... as its vendor landscape is marked by the presence ... market is however held by five major players - ... Together these companies accounted for nearly 61% of the ... the leading companies in the global military biometrics market ...
(Date:4/13/2017)... 13, 2017 UBM,s Advanced Design and Manufacturing ... feature emerging and evolving technology through its 3D Printing ... run alongside the expo portion of the event and ... demonstrations focused on trending topics within 3D printing and ... manufacturing event will take place June 13-15, 2017 at the ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... 2017 Research and Markets has announced the ... to their offering. ... eye tracking market to grow at a CAGR of 30.37% during ... Market 2017-2021, has been prepared based on an in-depth market analysis ... and its growth prospects over the coming years. The report also ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... At ... Purple announced Dr. Suneel I. Sheikh, the co-founder, CEO and chief research scientist ... has been selected for membership in ARCS Alumni Hall of Fame . ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... ... a basic first aid supply for any work environment, but most personal eye wash can ... a dangerous substance enters both eyes? It’s one less decision, and likely quicker response time ... , “Whether its dirt and debris, or an acid or alkali, getting anything in your ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... ... will be hosting a Webinar titled, “Pathology is going digital. Is your lab ... digital pathology adoption best practices and how Proscia improves lab economics and realizes ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ROTTERDAM, the Netherlands and LAGUNA HILLS, ... that The Institute of Cancer Research, London ... will use MMprofiler™ with SKY92, SkylineDx,s prognostic tool to risk-stratify ... high-risk trial known as MUK nine . The University ... this trial, which is partly funded by Myeloma UK, and ...
Breaking Biology Technology: