Major Islands (major + island)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts


EVOLUTION, Issue 1 2010
Ryan Calsbeek
A central problem in evolutionary biology is to understand how spatial and temporal variation in selection maintain genetic variation within and among populations. Brown anole lizards (Anolis sagrei) exhibit a dorsal pattern polymorphism that is expressed only in females, which occur in "diamond,""bar," and intermediate "diamond-bar" morphs. To understand the inheritance of this polymorphism, we conducted a captive breeding study that refuted several single-locus models and supported a two-locus mode of inheritance. To describe geographic variation in morph frequencies, we surveyed 13 populations from two major islands in The Bahamas. Morph frequencies differed substantially between major islands but were highly congruent within each island. Finally, we measured viability selection on each island to test two hypotheses regarding the maintenance of the polymorphism: (1) that spatial variation in selection maintains variation in morph frequencies between islands, and (2) that temporal variation in selection across years maintains variation within islands. Although bar females had relatively lower survival where they were rare, our data do not otherwise suggest that selection varies spatially between islands. However, diamond-bar females were subject to positive frequency-dependent selection across years, and the relative fitness of bar and diamond females alternated across years. We propose that this polymorphism is maintained by temporal variation in selection coupled with the sheltering of alleles via a two-locus inheritance pattern and sex-limited expression. [source]

ORIGINAL ARTICLE: Freshwater paths across the ocean: molecular phylogeny of the frog Ptychadena newtoni gives insights into amphibian colonization of oceanic islands

G. John Measey
Abstract Aim, Amphibians are a model group for studies of the biogeographical origins of salt-intolerant taxa on oceanic islands. We used the Gulf of Guinea islands to explore the biogeographical origins of island endemism of one species of frog, and used this to gain insights into potential colonization mechanisms. Location, São Tomé and Príncipe, two of the four major islands in the Gulf of Guinea, West Africa, are truly oceanic and have an exceptionally high biodiversity. Methods, Mitochondrial DNA is used to test the endemic status of a frog from São Tomé and compare it with congeneric taxa from tropical Africa. Existing data on surface currents, surface salinity, atmospheric circulation and bird migration in the Gulf of Guinea are summarized to address hypotheses concerning colonization mechanisms. Results, The endemic status of Ptychadena newtoni (Bocage) is supported here by mitochondrial DNA sequences, and analysis of this and other molecular data indicates that an East African species close to Ptychadena mascareniensis (Duméril and Bibron) is its nearest relative. We refute the possibility that this population was anthropogenically introduced, in favour of a natural dispersal mechanism. Main conclusions, With six endemic frogs and one caecilian, the Gulf of Guinea islands harbour a diverse amphibian fauna. Five of these species appear to have their closest relatives in East Africa. Insufficient evidence exists for transportation by storms, birds or rafts alone. However, we propose a synergy of rafting, favourable surface currents and a reduction in salinity of surface waters. Catastrophic events, or wet periods in climatic history, could allow freshwater paths to open far enough to enable continental flora and fauna to reach these and other isolated oceanic islands. [source]

Biodiversity and biogeography of the islands of the Kuril Archipelago

Theodore W. Pietsch
Abstract Aim Based on seven consecutive seasons of biotic survey and inventory of the terrestrial and freshwater plants and animals of the 30 major islands of the Kuril Archipelago, a description of the biodiversity and an analysis of the biogeography of this previously little known part of the world are provided. Location The Kuril Archipelago, a natural laboratory for investigations into the origin, subsequent evolution, and long-term maintenance of insular populations, forms the eastern boundary of the Okhotsk Sea, extending 1200 km between Hokkaido, Japan, and the Kamchatka Peninsula of Russia. A chain of more than 56 islands, the system is only slightly smaller than the Hawaiian Islands, covering an area of 15,600 km2 and providing 2409 km of coastline. Methods Collections of whole specimens of plants and animals, as well as tissue samples for future molecular studies, were made by teams of scientists from Russia, Japan, and the USA, averaging 34 people for each of the seven annual summer expeditions (1994,2000). Floral and faunal similarities between islands were evaluated by using Sorensen's coefficient of similarity. The similarity matrix resulting from pair-wise calculations was then subjected to UPGMA cluster analysis. Results Despite the relatively small geographical area of all islands combined, the Kuril Island biota is characterized by unusually high taxonomic diversity, yet endemism is very low. An example of a non-relict biota, it originated from two primary sources: a southern source, the Asian mainland by way of Sakhalin and Hokkaido, and a northern source by way of Kamchatka. The contribution of the southern source biota to the species diversity of the Kurils was considerably greater than the northern one. Main conclusion The Bussol Strait, lying between Urup and Simushir in the central Kurils, is the most significant biogeographical boundary within the Archipelago. Of lesser importance are two transitional zones, the De Vries Strait or ,Miyabe Line', which passes between Iturup and Urup in the southern Kurils, and the fourth Kuril Strait, between Onekotan and Paramushir in the northern Kurils. [source]

The flora of the South Sandwich Islands, with particular reference to the influence of geothermal heating

P. Convey
Abstract Aim, To carry out as comprehensive a survey as practicable of the flora (higher plants, mosses, liverworts, lichens, basidiomycete fungi and diatoms) of the isolated, volcanically active, South Sandwich Islands archipelago in the southern South Atlantic. To relate the components of this flora to (1) the influence of local geothermal heating and (2) wider regional floras. Location, South Sandwich Islands, southern South Atlantic Ocean, maritime Antarctic (56,60° S, 26,28° W). Methods, Ice-free accessible sites on all 11 of the major islands in the archipelago were visited by helicopter in January 1997. During each visit, voucher specimens of each floral group were collected. The comprehensiveness of collections obtained at each site varied with the duration of each visit (a function of tight logistic constraints) and extent of site. Visit duration varied from 1 to 9 h at most sites, with longer periods spent on Bellingshausen Island (2 days) and Leskov Island (1 day). Candlemas Island was examined in greater detail over a 4-week period in February 1997. At all sites, particular attention was given to areas influenced by geothermal heating. Results, Data obtained in 1997 are combined with updated records from the only previous survey (in 1964) to provide a baseline description of the flora of the archipelago, which currently includes 1 phanerogam, 38 mosses, 11 liverworts, 5 basidiomycete fungi, 41 lichenised fungi and 16 diatoms with, additionally, several taxa identified only to genus. Major elements of the moss and liverwort floras are composed of South American taxa (32% and 73%, respectively), with a further 45% of mosses having bipolar or cosmopolitan distributions. These two groups show low levels of Antarctic endemicity (11% and 18%, respectively). In contrast, 52% of lichens and 80% of basidiomycete fungi are endemic to the Antarctic. A further 36% of lichens are bipolar/cosmopolitan, with only 5% of South American origin. Main Conclusions, The flora of the South Sandwich Islands is clearly derived from those of other Antarctic zones. The flora of unheated ground is closely related to that of the maritime Antarctic, although with a very limited number of species represented. That of heated ground contains both maritime and sub-Antarctic elements, confirming the importance of geothermal heating for successful colonisation of the latter group. The occurrence of several maritime Antarctic species only on heated ground confirms the extreme severity of the archipelago's climate in comparison with well-studied sites much further south in this biogeographical zone. [source]

Genetic structure of the widespread and common Mediterranean bryophyte Pleurochaete squarrosa (Brid.) Lindb. (Pottiaceae) , evidence from nuclear and plastidic DNA sequence variation and allozymes

Abstract The Mediterranean Basin as one the world's most biologically diverse regions provides an interesting area for the study of plant evolution and spatial structure in plant populations. The dioecious moss Pleurochaete squarrosa is a widespread and common bryophyte in the Mediterranean Basin. Thirty populations were sampled for a study on molecular diversity and genetic structure, covering most major islands and mainland populations from Europe and Africa. A significant decline in nuclear and chloroplast sequence and allozyme variation within populations from west to east was observed. While DNA sequence data showed patterns of isolation by distance, allozyme markers did not. Instead, their considerable interpopulation genetic differentiation appeared to be unrelated to geographic distance. Similar high values for coefficients of gene diversity (GST) in all data sets provided evidence of geographic isolation and limited gene flow among populations (i) within islands, (ii) within mainland areas, and (iii) between islands and mainland. Notably, populations in continental Spain are strongly genetically isolated from all other investigated areas. Surprisingly, there was no difference in gene diversity and GST between islands and mainland areas. Thus, we conclude that large Mediterranean islands may function as ,mainland' for bryophytes. This hypothesis and its implication for conservation biology of cryptogamic plants warrant further investigation. While sexually reproducing populations were found all over the Mediterranean Basin, high levels of multilocus linkage disequilibrium provide evidence of mainly vegetative propagation even in populations where sexual reproduction was observed. [source]

A screening tool for vulnerability assessment of pesticide leaching to groundwater for the islands of Hawaii, USA

Fredrik Stenemo
Abstract This paper describes an updated version of a screening tool for groundwater vulnerability assessment to evaluate pesticide leaching to groundwater, based on a revised version of the attenuation factor. The tool has been implemented in a geographical information system (GIS) covering the major islands of the state of Hawaii, USA. The Hawaii Department of Agriculture currently uses the tool in their pesticide evaluation process as a first-tier screening tool. The basic soil properties and pesticide properties necessary to compute the index, and estimates of their uncertainty, are included in the GIS. Uncertainties in soil and pesticide properties are accounted for using first-order uncertainty analysis. Classifications of pesticides as ,likely', ,uncertain' or ,unlikely' to leach are made on the basis of the uncertainty and a comparison of the revised attenuation factor with values and uncertainties of two reference chemicals. The reference chemicals represent what are considered to be a ,leachable' and a ,non-leachable' pesticide under Hawaii conditions. It is concluded that the tool is suitable for screening new and already used pesticides for the islands of Hawaii. However, the tool is associated with uncertainties that are not accounted for, so a conservative approach with respect to interpretation of the results and selection of pesticide parameters used in the tool is recommended. Copyright © 2007 Society of Chemical Industry [source]