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

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.


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

Page: 1 2

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Smithsonian scientists discover 7 new species of fish
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