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(Bio) Island Rule

 
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adedios
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Joined: 06 Jul 2005
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Location: Angel C. de Dios

PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2006 8:28 am    Post subject: (Bio) Island Rule Reply with quote






Sea Giants and Island Pygmies
Emily Sohn

Sept. 20, 2006

The natural world is full of extremes. Elephants and whales are huge. Minnows and mice are small.
But it's also possible to find pygmy elephants, enormous rodents, and giant squid. Such surprising size variations have sent scientists scrambling to understand why certain types of animals grow larger or smaller in some places than they do in others.

One place to find animals with unusual sizes is on an island. In such an isolated setting, creatures that are normally small, such as tortoises and rodents, tend to grow unusually large. Creatures that are normally large, such as deer and elephants, become unusually small.

The trend is so common that it has a name: the island rule. Scientists know that it happens, but they don't yet know why.


For the full article:

http://www.sciencenewsforkids......ature1.asp

*************************************************************

Questions to explore further this topic:

What is an island?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/northerni.....slandlife/

Midgets and Giants in the Deep Sea (The Island Rule in the Deep Sea?)

http://www.mbari.org/news/news.....lsize.html
http://www.unm.edu/~aboyer/images/DeepSea.pdf

Why do islands breed giants (and sometimes dwarfs)?

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/eden/giants.html

Where does one find dwarf elephants?

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories.....5924.shtml
http://www.greenexplorer.com/content/view/42/44/

Are there giant rats?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flores_Giant_Rat

Classroom activity: The Garden of Eden

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/t....._eden.html

Why would variety in related species be evolutionarily logical and practical?

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolut.....26_01.html

What is the "Island Rule"?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Island_rule



A database on the mass of island mammals (giants and dwarfs)

http://www.biogeography.org/Bo.....202005.xls

A database on island species

http://128.196.198.6/~michaelweiser/island/

GAMES

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/eden/build.html
http://www.bbc.co.uk/northerni.....ndex.shtml
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adedios
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Joined: 06 Jul 2005
Posts: 5060
Location: Angel C. de Dios

PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2007 8:07 am    Post subject: Global Survey of Lizards Reveals Reply with quote

Global Survey of Lizards Reveals
Greater Abundance of Animals on
Islands Than on Mainland Ecosystems


May 1 , 2007

By Kim McDonald


The Tenerife lizard, Gallotia galloti, is only found within the Canary Islands and among the island lizard populations studied. Credit: Allen Hurlbert

A comprehensive survey of lizards on islands around the world has confirmed what island biologists and seafaring explorers have long observed: Animals on islands are much more abundant than their counterparts on the mainland.

Besides confirming that longstanding observation, the study signals an alarm for island populations in a rapidly warming world. It suggests that climate change may have devastating consequences for lizards and other animals that inhabit islands because their ecosystems are much more sensitive than those on the mainland to change.

Details of the study conducted by biologists at the University of California, San Diego will appear in a paper slated for publication in the June issue of the journal Ecology Letters, available online in May.

For the full article:

http://ucsdnews.ucsd.edu/newsr.....KM-LNI.asp
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adedios
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Joined: 06 Jul 2005
Posts: 5060
Location: Angel C. de Dios

PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2007 7:56 am    Post subject: Invasion of the island bats Reply with quote

Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
8 May 2007

Invasion of the island bats

Ever since the relationship between land area and number of species crystallized into a mathematical power function, islands and island archipelagoes have been thought of as biological destinations where species from large continents arrive and, over time, evolve into new species in geographic seclusion.

Since islands have many times fewer species than the continent, it seemed only logical that continents were rich sources from which islands drew only a small sample. Once isolated and with fewer species around, island organisms were thought to lose their competitive edge and so they hardly ever re-colonized the continent from which they originated.

These views suffered a severe blow recently when evolutionary studies of birds of the South Pacific and Caribbean lizards uncovered at least three separate cases of island-to-continent colonization. Then again, these few instances could be interpreted as the exceptions that prove the rule, anomalies easily explained by the unique circumstances of each case.

Analysis of bat DNA published in Journal of Biogeography reveal that several neotropical species descended from ancestors that evolved in the West Indies, and this pattern is consistent with fossils found throughout the region. As the culmination in the study of several independent bat groups, this article shows that reverse colonization is a feature of the entire Caribbean bat community, encompassing groups of bats as different from each other as aerial insectivores, nectarivores, and frugivores.

The evolution of Caribbean bats suggests that far from being isolated destinations, the West Indies have had a dynamic, two-way relationship with the Americas, exchanging species back and forth at different points in their geological history. This discovery further enhances the conservation importance of the West Indies, where habitat loss and climate change —embodied in the intensification of hurricanes— threaten natural habitats more acutely than on the continent.
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