Navigation Links
Smithsonian scientists discover 7 new species of fish
Date:2/4/2011

Things are not always what they seem when it comes to fishsomething scientists at the Smithsonian Institution and the Ocean Science Foundation are finding out. Using modern genetic analysis, combined with traditional examination of morphology, the scientists discovered that what were once thought to be three species of blenny in the genus Starksia are actually 10 distinct species. The team's findings are published in the scientific journal ZooKeys, Feb. 3.

Starksia blennies, small (less than 2 inches) fish with elongated bodies, generally native to shallow to moderately deep rock and coral reefs in the western Atlantic and eastern Pacific oceans, have been well-studied for more than 100 years. It would have been reasonable to assume that there was little about the group left to discover. Modern DNA barcoding techniques, however, suggested otherwise. While trying to match larval stages of coral reef fish to adults through DNA, the team of scientists noticed contradictions between the preliminary genetic data and the current species classification. Further investigation revealed that the team was dealing with many species new to science, including the new Starksia blennies.

"DNA analysis has offered science a great new resource to examine old questions," said Carole Baldwin, a zoologist at Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History and lead author of the paper. "This discovery is a perfect example of how DNA barcoding is illuminating species that we've missed before, particularly small cryptic reef fishes like Starksia blennies. We don't know where we stand in terms of understanding species diversity, and our work suggests that current concepts may be surprisingly incomplete."

But DNA analysis cannot stand on its ownBaldwin and her team only recognize genetic lineages as species if they are supported by morphology. So traditional morphological analysis, such as comparing patterns of pigmentation and numbers of fin rays, is conducted to solidify their findings.

One interesting aspect of the research is that Starksia species that were thought to be broadly distributed throughout the Caribbeanas most Caribbean reef fish species arebreak up into multiple species with geographically restricted ranges. One species in the study, for example, was divided into threea species in the east (Bahamas/Turks and Caicos), one in the south (Curacao, Netherlands Antilles) and another in the west (Belize, Central America). Baldwin predicts that other widespread species in the genus may also represent species complexes that break into multiple, geographically distinct species after further study. Furthermore, the team's DNA data suggest that other types of Caribbean fish (e.g., some gobies) may similarly represent species complexes comprising numerous new species, and traditional concepts of speciation in the Caribbean may need to be re-evaluated.

The team's combined molecular and morphological approach has not only increased the number of currently recognized species, it serves as an example of the continuing nature of scientific discovery. Because the resiliency of marine populations to human exploitation may be linked to species richness, an improved understanding of the diversity and distribution of deep-reef life may be critical.


'/>"/>

Contact: John Gibbons
gibbonsjp@si.edu
202-633-5187
Smithsonian
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Smithsonian perspective: Biodiversity in a warmer world
2. Smithsonian puts tropical Eastern-Pacific shore fishes online
3. Smithsonian puts tropical eastern Pacific shore fishes online
4. New movement models tested at the Smithsonian in Panama
5. Smithsonian scientists receive coveted BBVA Ecology and Conservation Award
6. Smithsonian scientist warns that palm oil development may threaten Amazon
7. First jaguar photo taken at Smithsonian Research Station in Panama
8. Smithsonian scientists find the frog legs trade may facilitate spread of pathogens
9. Stress and trade-offs explain lifes diversity: New Smithsonian model
10. Smithsonian hosts 2010 International CAM Workshop in Panama
11. Smithsonian scientists help create first frozen repository for Hawaiian coral
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Smithsonian scientists discover 7 new species of fish
(Date:6/21/2016)... , June 21, 2016 NuData Security announced ... new role of principal product architect and that ... director of customer development. Both will report directly ... officer. The moves reflect NuData,s strategic growth in ... to high customer demand and customer focus values. ...
(Date:6/9/2016)... attendance control systems is proud to announce the introduction of fingerprint attendance control software, ... employees are actually signing in, and to even control the opening of doors. ... ... ... Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160609/377487 ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... June 2, 2016 The Department of ... awarded the 44 million US Dollar project, for the ... Plates including Personalization, Enrolment, and IT Infrastructure , ... the production and implementation of Identity Management Solutions. Numerous renowned ... Decatur was selected for the most ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... June 24, 2016 Epic Sciences unveiled ... cancers susceptible to PARP inhibitors by targeting homologous ... (CTCs). The new test has already been incorporated ... multiple cancer types. Over 230 clinical ... response pathways, including PARP, ATM, ATR, DNA-PK and ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016   Boston Biomedical , an ... designed to target cancer stemness pathways, announced that ... Orphan Drug Designation from the U.S. Food and ... cancer, including gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancer. Napabucasin is ... inhibit cancer stemness pathways by targeting STAT3, and ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Calif. , June 23, 2016  The Prostate Cancer Foundation ... increasingly precise treatments and faster cures for prostate cancer. Members of the Class ... across 15 countries. Read More About the Class of ... ... ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... In a new case report published ... how a patient who developed lymphedema after being treated for breast cancer benefitted from ... the paradigm for dealing with this debilitating, frequent side effect of cancer treatment. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: