Navigation Links
The evolution of migration
Date:8/4/2014

Each year, millions of birds migrate thousands of miles between the locations where they breed and raise young, and the areas where they spend the winter. Each migration is a trip fraught with dangermany birds die before they reach their final destination. To scientists, long distance migration still holds many mysteries, one of which is: where did migration begin and how did it evolve? This question has long been a debated topic among scientists, but thanks to new research from Field Museum scientists, we may have an answer for one of the largest groups of migratory birds. The scientists' research will be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Traditionally, there have been two schools of thought: one, that ancestors of migratory birds spent the whole year in North America and evolved migration by moving their winter range to the tropics. The other theory suggested that these ancestors were originally found in the tropics, and evolved migration by moving breeding grounds to more temperate locales like North America.

To uncover this mystery of migration Resident Graduate Student Ben Winger (University of Chicago) and Associate Curator of Botany Rick Ree created a model to infer how the breeding and winter ranges of migratory species changed through time. They applied the model to a large group of migratory birds that include warblers, cardinals, sparrows, tanagers, orioles, and others. The model uses a phylogeny (a "family tree" of species that depicts their evolutionary relationships), which was contributed by co-author Keith Barker, a former Field Museum graduate student now at the University of Minnesota.

"We named it the 'domino model' because the breeding and winter ranges of species were coded in 3x2 grids of binary values, like dots on domino pieces. The computational challenge was to reconstruct the most probable evolutionary shifts from one domino to another," explains Ree. Tracing back through time and examining common ancestors of migratory and non-migratory species, they were able to conclude that there was more evidence supporting the idea that birds lived year-round in North America and began migrating further and further south, resulting in today's birds migrating thousands of miles every year.

Another result of the study suggests that many tropical species of birds are descendants of migratory ancestors that lost migration and stayed in the tropics year-round. "This is an interesting result because species diversity in this group is much higher in the tropics. Previously, more species in the tropics led to the assumption that temperate, migratory species are derived from tropical, nonmigratory ancestors; however, the results of our phylogenetic study suggest that the opposite pattern happened often in this group."


'/>"/>
Contact: Emily Waldren
media@fieldmuseum.org
312-665-7107
Field Museum
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Leading evolutionary scientist to discuss how genome of bacteria has evolved
2. An evolutionary surprise
3. Ancient Egyptian cotton unveils secrets of domesticated crop evolution
4. Did climate change shape human evolution?
5. A University of Tennessee professors hypothesis may be game changer for evolutionary theory
6. Analysis of stickleback genome sequence catches evolution in action
7. Study shows unified process of evolution in bacteria and sexual eukaryotes
8. Rapid method of assembling new gene-editing tool could revolutionize genetic research
9. Whats in a surname? New study explores what the evolution of names reveals about China
10. Scientists trace evolutionary history of what mammals eat
11. Not by DNA alone: How the epigenetics revolution is fostering new medicines
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
The evolution of migration
(Date:5/23/2017)... May 23, 2017  Hunova, the first robotic gym for the rehabilitation ... officially launched in Genoa, Italy . The first 30 ... and the USA . The technology was developed and ... by the IIT spin-off Movendo Technology thanks to a 10 million euro ... Release, please click: ...
(Date:5/16/2017)... 2017  Veratad Technologies, LLC ( www.veratad.com ), an ... identity verification solutions, announced today they will participate as ... 15 thru May 17, 2017, in Washington ... Center. Identity impacts the lives of ... quickly evolving digital world, defining identity is critical to ...
(Date:5/16/2017)... May 16, 2017   Bridge Patient Portal ... and MD EMR Systems , an electronic ... for GE, have established a partnership to build ... and the GE Centricity™ products, including Centricity Practice ... These new integrations will allow healthcare ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/26/2017)... ... 25, 2017 , ... Activate Healthcare, a leading provider of ... fastest growing private companies, has selected Twine for its Employee Health Activation Platform. ... transformative model that empowers deep collaboration and behavior change. In randomized controlled trials, ...
(Date:5/26/2017)... ... May 25, 2017 , ... Throughout this ... studies, describing how process development and economic goals were achieved in both industry ... a hollow-fiber bioreactor system, along with techniques for scaling production of mesenchymal stem ...
(Date:5/26/2017)... ... May 25, 2017 , ... Studying biological events ... occurrence. Live cell imaging using fluorescence microscopy is the perfect approach to explore ... microscopy methods will be discussed, from small animal models and tissues to individual ...
(Date:5/26/2017)... ... May 25, 2017 , ... LabRoots , the leading provider ... from around the world, is announcing a new textbook scholarship, the second scholarship in ... graduate students, 17 years or older, pursuing a degree in one of the life ...
Breaking Biology Technology: