New keys to keeping a diverse planetSeptember 26, 2007
Variation in plants and animals gives us a rich and robust assemblage of foods, medicines, industrial materials and recreation activities. But human activities are eliminating biological diversity at an unprecedented rate.
A new UC Davis study offers clues to how these losses relate to one another -- information that is essential as scientists and land managers strive to protect the remaining natural variation.
Sharon Strauss, a professor of evolution and ecology, and former doctoral student Richard Lankau (now a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and the University of Illinois), studied competition among genetically varied plants of one species (black mustard, Brassica nigra), and among black mustard and plants of other species.
"This is one of the first studies to show that genetic diversity and species diversity depend on each other," Lankau said. "Diversity within a species is necessary to maintain diversity among species, and at the same time, diversity among species is necessary to maintain diversity within a species.
"And if any one type is removed from the system, the cycle can break down, and the community becomes dominated by a single species."
The research was funded by the National Science Foundation. The paper, titled "Mutual feedbacks maintain both genetic and species diversity in a plant community," was published in the Sept. 14 issue of the journal Science.
The Strauss-Lankau paper is one of three papers by researchers in the UC Davis Graduate Group in Ecology that have recently been published in Science, Nature and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.
UC Davis graduate programs in ecology and evolutionary biology are among the best in the nation, and were ranked first in 2007 by U.S. News & World Report.
- Graduate Group in Ecology: http://ecology.ucdavis.edu/
- Section of Evolution and Ecology: http://www-eve.ucdavis.edu
Sylvia Wright, UC Davis News Service, (530) 752-7704, email@example.com
University of California - Davis
Related Evolution Articles:
The evolution of cells and organisms is thought to have been preceded by a phase in which informational molecules like DNA could be replicated selectively.
A new study by University of Arizona biologists helps explain why different groups of animals differ dramatically in their number of species, and how this is related to differences in their body forms and ways of life.
A genome project, comprising six evolutionary biologists from Professor Axel Meyer's research team from Konstanz and researchers from China and Singapore, sequenced and analyzed the genome of the tiger tail seahorse.
Rapid evolution of other species happens all around us all the time -- and many of the most extreme examples are associated with human influences.
Landscapes are formed by a combination of uplift and erosion.
How enzymes -- the biological proteins that act as catalysts and help complex reactions occur -- are 'tuned' to work at a particular temperature is described in new research from groups in New Zealand and the UK, including the University of Bristol.
On Nov. 11, 1954, Syuiti Mori turned out the lights on a small group of fruit flies.
A team of researchers, among them a zoologist from the University of Cologne, has succeeded in reconstructing a 160 million year old compound eye of a fossil crustacean found in southeastern France visible.
Evolution may be more intelligent than we thought, according to a University of Southampton professor.
Organized opposition to the teaching of evolution in public schoolsin the United States began in the 1920s, leading to the famous Scopes Monkey trial.
Related Evolution Reading:
Evolutions: Fifteen Myths That Explain Our World
by Oren Harman (Author)
A brilliant lyrical exploration of how modern science illuminates what it means to be human, from the award-winning author of The Price of Altruism
We no longer think, like the ancient Chinese did, that the world was hatched from an egg, or, like the Maori, that it came from the tearing-apart of a love embrace. The Greeks told of a tempestuous Hera and a cunning Zeus, but we now use genes and natural selection to explain fear and desire, and physics to demystify the workings of the universe.
On a brisk winter morning in 2004, after leaving early from their final exams for the fall semester, four 19 and 20-year-old college students park an unmarked van outside of the Transylvania University Private Collections Museum. Home to a collection of some of the most valuable rare books and paintings in the world, including John James Audubon’s Birds of America and Charles Darwin’s On The Origin of Species, the four young men enter the building with the intention to steal history.
As one of the most audacious art heists in U.S. history unfolds, this... View Details
Evolution: The Cutting-Edge Guide to Breaking Down Mental Walls and Building the Body You've Always Wanted
by Joe Manganiello (Author)
Joe Manganiello first gained recognition around the world for his incredible, sculpted body while winning both popular and critical praise as the star of HBO's True Blood. Now, from the man that Magic Mike director Steven Soderbergh called “walking CGI,” comes the cutting-edge guide to achieving the perfect body and therefore enhancing your overall quality of life.
With a build that men envy and women adore, Joe Manganiello is more than qualified to write the end-all guide to sculpting the perfect body. His fit physique catapulted him to the top of the list of... View Details
Evolution: The Human Story
by DK (Author)
How did we develop from simple animals inhabiting small pockets of forest in Africa to the dominant species on Earth? Traveling back almost eight million years to our earliest primate relatives, Evolution: The Human Story charts the development of our species from tree-dwelling primates to modern humans.
Investigating each of our ancestors in detail and in context, from the anatomy of their bones to the environment they lived in, Evolution: The Human Story profiles every human relative and ancestor discovered to date, and illustrates them in lifelike form.
Stunning images to reawaken us to the scientific process that drives the amazing diversity of life on earth
Evidence of evolution is everywhere. Through 200 revelatory images, award-winning photographer Robert Clark makes one of the most important foundations of science clear and exciting to everyone. Evolution: A Visual Record transports readers from the near-mystical(human ancestors) to the historic (the famous 'finches' Darwin collected on the Galapagos Islands that spurred his theory); the recently understood (the link between dinosaurs and modern birds)... View Details
The Evolution of Claire (Jurassic World)
by Tess Sharpe (Author)
Don't miss this pulse-pounding prequel to the Jurassic World movies that reveals the never-before-seen backstory of beloved film character Claire Dearing.
Freshman year in college is full of obstacles--there are messy roommates, cranky professors, and disgusting dining halls. But for Claire Dearing, add "How to properly avoid being eaten by a dinosaur" to that list.
The year is 2004, and Claire has been given the chance of a lifetime: the opportunity to intern at the Jurassic World theme park less than a year before it opens to the public. She is... View Details
Evolution: How We and All Living Things Came to Be
by Daniel Loxton (Author), Daniel Loxton (Illustrator)
Evolution is the process that created the terrible teeth of Tyrannosaurus rex and the complex human brain, clever enough to understand the workings of nature. Young readers will learn how a British naturalist named Charles Darwin studied nature and developed his now-famous concepts of natural selection and survival of the fittest. And how modern-day science has added to our understanding of the theory of evolution.
Can something as complex and wondrous as the natural world be explained by a simple theory? The answer is yes, and now Evolution explains how in a way that makes it easy... View Details
Evolution: Still a Theory in Crisis
by Michael Denton (Author)
More than thirty years after his landmark book Evolution: A Theory in Crisis (1985), biologist Michael Denton revisits his earlier thesis about the inability of Darwinian evolution to explain the history of life. He argues that there remains “an irresistible consilience of evidence for rejecting Darwinian cumulative selection as the major driving force of evolution.” From the origin of life to the origin of human language, the great divisions in the natural order are still as profound as ever, and they are still unsupported by the series of adaptive transitional forms predicted by... View Details
Why Evolution Is True
by Jerry A. Coyne (Author)
"Coyne's knowledge of evolutionary biology is prodigious, his deployment of it as masterful as his touch is light." -Richard Dawkins
In the current debate about creationism and intelligent design, there is an element of the controversy that is rarely mentioned-the evidence. Yet the proof of evolution by natural selection is vast, varied, and magnificent. In this succinct and accessible summary of the facts supporting the theory of natural selection, Jerry A. Coyne dispels common misunderstandings and fears about evolution and clearly confirms the scientific truth that... View Details
Evolution 2.0: Breaking the Deadlock Between Darwin and Design
by Perry Marshall (Author)
When Charles Darwin wrote "Origin of Species," cells were considered gobs of goo. But today we know NASA astronaut Scott Kelly's body altered its own gene expressions in just one year (!) when he traveled to space and back. His body executed a direct evolutionary response to the rigors of the International Space Station.
Such new discoveries demonstrate how obsolete Neo-Darwinian ideas about random mutation were. New knowledge was resisted for decades. Why? Because it overturned entrenched norms, popular beliefs, accepted paradigms.
The old-school Darwinism of... View Details