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#1 2008-05-20 11:29:06

stuart
Administrator
Name: Stuart Ball
Registered: 2007-04-21
Posts: 142

Diversity of tropical flies

This article from New Scientist struck me because of the tone of surprise in which it was presented. Surely this is what all of us would have expected!


Stuart

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#2 2008-05-21 22:22:52

Rainieria
Committee
Name: Darwyn Sumner
Registered: 2008-02-20
Posts: 390
Website

Re: Diversity of tropical flies

I understood that Wallace's work "convincingly demonstrated this high level of tropical specialisation" as does pretty well all similar work in the "tropics", including many articles published in New Scientist like the recent one on Nautilus ("Chambers of secrets" NS. 5th April 2008).
I am surprised that they are surprised - perhaps we should send a letter to NS expressing our surprise.

Last edited by Rainieria (2008-05-21 22:27:48)


Darwyn Sumner
DF Bulletin Editor, Scheme Organiser: Stilt & Stalk Flies

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#3 2008-05-24 17:04:50

stuart
Administrator
Name: Stuart Ball
Registered: 2007-04-21
Posts: 142

Re: Diversity of tropical flies

I'm surprised you are surprised that they are surprised.


Stuart

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#4 2009-03-20 11:24:10

AdrianPlant
DF Members
Name: Adrian Plant
Registered: 2008-04-29
Posts: 4

Re: Diversity of tropical flies

Im suffering from yet more surprise:- mostly that an august journal such as new scientist should stoop to sensationalism!.
However, (and judging only from NS journalism, not having read the original paper), I think the importance of this finding is that these workers found a multitude of microspecies, sibling species, metaspecies (or whatever term you favour) within a very confined 'niche-space'. That is there were multiple populations of genetically varient forms living in apparent isolation of each other but very close to each other within closely apposed micro-niches .
Whilst diversity is of course greatest in the tropics, this finding is still unusual. It could be a local phenonomon but no doubt people will now look to see if it is more widespread. There is good evidence that the rate of speciation is higher in the tropics and researchers keenly seek explanations for this:- microspeciations such as the one described in the NS article cold be a part explanation at least.
Interestingly, elevated rates of speciation in the tropics effectively induce a pressure gradient between tropics and temperate latitudes, forcing tropically evolved species to radiate physically. The massive rates of speciation in the tropics effectively drive evolution of life on Earth so anything that might explain them is noteworthy

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