Navigation Links
UBC study first to show evolution's impact on ecosystems
Date:4/1/2009

Scientists have come to agree that different environments impact the evolution of new species. Now experiments conducted at the University of British Columbia are showing for the first time that the reverse is also true.

Researchers from the UBC Biodiversity Research Centre created mini-ecosystems in large aquatic tanks using different species of three-spine stickleback fish and saw substantial differences in the ecosystems in as little as 11 weeks.

Their findings are published in today's Advanced Online Publication of the journal Nature.

Stickleback fish originated in the ocean but began populating freshwater lakes and streams following the last ice age. Over the past 10,000 years a relatively short time span in evolutionary terms different species with distinct physical traits have emerged in some fresh water lakes.

The UBC study involved new species found in British Columbia lakes that have evolved distinct physical traits: limnetic sticklebacks (smaller open water dwellers with narrow mouths), benthic sticklebacks (larger bottom dwellers with a wide gape) and a generalist species to represent the probable ancestor of the two species.

"Simply by what they eat and how they live, even young species that have 'recently' diversified can have a major impact on their food web," says study lead author Luke Harmon, who conducted the study while a post-doctoral fellow at UBC. He is now an assistant professor at the University of Idaho. "This study adds to a broader body of literature showing that species diversity matters in important ways."

Further analysis showed the tanks with the two newest species had larger molecules of dissolved organic carbon, or bits of decaying plants and animals. This prevented sunlight from penetrating the water and inhibited plant growth.

"Our study shows that through evolution, sticklebacks can engineer the light environment of their own ecosystems," says co-author Blake Matthews, a UBC post-doctoral fellow who is now a researcher at Eawag, the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology. "It also demonstrates how speciation of a predator might alter the evolutionary course of other organisms in the food web."

"As new species arise from a common ancestor and evolve new ways of exploiting the environment, each inadvertently reshapes the dynamics of the ecosystem around it," says co-author UBC Prof. Dolph Schluter. "We are just beginning to understand how."


'/>"/>

Contact: Brian Lin
brian.lin@ubc.ca
604-822-2234
University of British Columbia
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Study: Health undervalued in reproductive rights debate
2. Health choices predict cancer survival, U-M study finds
3. Taste, odor intervention improves cancer therapy, according to Virginia Tech, Wake Forest study
4. UW-Madison study reveals new options for people with PKU
5. Brain building: Study shows brain growth tied to cell division in mouse embryos
6. Skin cancer study uncovers new tumor suppressor gene
7. Study assesses impact of fish stocking on aquatic insects
8. Study unravels why certain fishes went extinct 65 million years ago
9. CellThera and WPI advance in regeneration study
10. Innerscope Research(R) Uses Same-Day Results From Biometric Study to Identify Key Themes, Styles Behind Effective, Engaging Speaker Presentations
11. Lancet study supports new, highly effective treatment for blood disorder
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/25/2017)... 25, 2017 The Elements of Enterprise Information ... is comprised of a comprehensive set of business ... maintaining digital identities and providing a secured and ... are significant number of programs opted by enterprises ... by optimizing processes and changing policies. However, there ...
(Date:1/21/2017)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the ... ... voice recognition biometrics market to grow at a CAGR of 19.36% ... present scenario and the growth prospects of the global voice recognition ... considers the revenue generated from the sales of voice recognition biometrics ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... , Jan. 18, 2017 ... company that supports the entire spectrum of clinical ... been another record-breaking year for the organization in ... interest in MedNet,s eClinical products and services. The ... tremendous marketplace success of iMedNet ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/15/2017)... ... February 15, 2017 , ... ... President and Chief Commercial Officer with GenePeeks. Matt is a veteran life ... is a computational genomics company focused on identifying inherited disease risk in future ...
(Date:2/15/2017)... 15, 2017  NASA provider SpaceX is scheduled to ... International Space Station  no earlier than 10:01 a.m. EST ... begin at 8:30 a.m. on NASA Television and the ... spacecraft will lift off on the company,s Falcon 9 ... Kennedy Space Center in Florida ...
(Date:2/15/2017)... Windtree Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: WINT ... surfactant therapies for respiratory diseases, will host a conference ... AM EST on Thursday, February 16, 2017 to provide ... recently announced closing of a $10.5 million private offering ... participate in the live call and take part in ...
(Date:2/15/2017)... Feb. 15, 2017  Surrozen Inc., a newly formed ... promote the repair and regeneration of human tissues, has ... The Column Group, a science-driven venture capital firm based ... will be used to implement a broad-based drug discovery ... signaling, which plays a central role in organism development, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: