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Zoologists discover two new bird species in Indonesia

Zoologists from Trinity College Dublin, working with partners from Halu Oleo University (UHO) and Operation Wallacea, have discovered two beautiful new bird species in the Wakatobi archipelago in Sulawesi, Indonesia. Details of their discovery – by Wakatobi white-eye and Wangi-wangi white-eye – have been published today (April 24) in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society which is the same magazine in which Alfred Wallace and Charles Darwin published their game-changing original ideas of speciation 1858. Just defining what a species is and how species arise has fascinated scientists for centuries, and while perhaps we feel intuitively know what a species is, closer to what we see the more complicated things become. For example, when considering closely related populations of organisms, it can be very difficult to determine where to draw the line. New research has shown that many different species mix to some extent, the lines further obscure. Although we accept the complications that lie in the definition of species, there is still so much we need to learn about how new species arise. Thinkers from Aristotle to Charles Darwin onwards have spent their lives understanding this topic. Now, Professor Nicola Marple's research group from Trinity College Dublin's science school throws a little more light on this evolutionary puzzle. Sulawesi Prof Marples group has been studying birds on Sulawesi, in Indonesia and its offshore islands since 1 999. Sulawesi is a particularly remarkable island known for its strange and wonderful plants and animals. It is located in the middle…

Zoologists from Trinity College Dublin, working with partners from Halu Oleo University (UHO) and Operation Wallacea, have discovered two beautiful new bird species in the Wakatobi archipelago in Sulawesi, Indonesia. Details of their discovery – by Wakatobi white-eye and Wangi-wangi white-eye – have been published today (April 24) in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society which is the same magazine in which Alfred Wallace and Charles Darwin published their game-changing original ideas of speciation 1858.

Just defining what a species is and how species arise has fascinated scientists for centuries, and while perhaps we feel intuitively know what a species is, closer to what we see the more complicated things become. For example, when considering closely related populations of organisms, it can be very difficult to determine where to draw the line. New research has shown that many different species mix to some extent, the lines further obscure.

Although we accept the complications that lie in the definition of species, there is still so much we need to learn about how new species arise. Thinkers from Aristotle to Charles Darwin onwards have spent their lives understanding this topic. Now, Professor Nicola Marple’s research group from Trinity College Dublin’s science school throws a little more light on this evolutionary puzzle.

Sulawesi

Prof Marples group has been studying birds on Sulawesi, in Indonesia and its offshore islands since 1

999. Sulawesi is a particularly remarkable island known for its strange and wonderful plants and animals. It is located in the middle of Indonesia at the border between Asian and Australian species and has an unusually large number of endemic species (unique species not found elsewhere) due to the deep sea graves that isolated Sulawesi from other land masses, even during earlier ages, when sea levels dropped. .

Collaboration with partners from the UHO The Trinity team has cataloged the unique biodiversity in Sulawesi for 20 years. Using a modern research focus on the issue of species separation, the team contains genetic, body size and song actions as a means of comparing organisms. Differences in bird singing are particularly important as birds use their songs to find their buddies; If separated populations of birds sing different songs, they will not interbreed, allowing them to develop in different directions. Finally, after a number of generations, birds in different populations can be sufficiently different to be classified as unique species.

Wakatobi white-eye and Wangi-wangi white-eye

One of the birds (Wakatobi white -ye) has been raised in the art debate for some time, as ideas on how to define a species that has changed from the beginning of 1900 number to the current day. The other (Wangi-Wangi white-eye) remained unnoticed until the early 2000s when Prof Marple’s research team visited the island from which it was named.

White eyes as a group have spread and specified more quickly than any other bird. They are adaptable, feed on a variety of fruits, flowers and insects. White eyes are also superior to oleolonizers, so so many different white eye types have evolved so rapidly, as different island populations are isolated and shattered from their source population.

The two new white eyes found by Trinity and UHO follow this trend; they are both on the Wakatobi islands, just off mainland south-east Sulawesi. However, the two species could not be more different. Wakatobi white-eye is found throughout the Wakatobi Islands and is shared by mainland relatives over the past 800,000 years. In contrast, Wangi-wangi-vitae is a much older species found only on a small island, with the closest relatives found more than 3000 km away! Although this is an incredible discovery, only a small island means that the Wangi-wangi eye is very vulnerable to habitat loss.

Professor of zoology, in Trinity’s science school, Nicola Marples, said: “Finding Two new species from the same family animals on the same island are remarkable. Wangi-wangi White-eye is a special discovery because it is only in a small Island and its closest relatives live more than 3000 km away. “

Journal article leader, Dr. Darren O & # 39; Connell, who recently completed his PhD in Trinity’s science school and now works at University College Dublin, added:” These discoveries Not only of evolutionary interest – they also come with the relevance of true conservation, by highlighting the unique species that is special to the Wakatobi Islands, we can help protect the remaining habitats on the islands, which are under great pressure. Ultimately, the islands are recognized as the Ende Mic Bird Area so they get more conservation support. “

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