Strong rivers give the Amazon a rich bird variety

Strong rivers give the Amazon a rich bird variety

A shot from a recent scientific trip to Amazon by research lead author Lukas Musher. Found: Lukas Musher

One of the most controversial questions in evolutionary biology is, how did the Amazon become so rich in species? A new study on birds to look at how rivers move in the Amazon has helped to differentiate the biodiversity of that area. The research team, led by the American Museum of Natural History, found that as small river systems changed over time, they encouraged the growth of new species. The data also show that species of birds never seen before in the Amazon can only be found in small areas along these powerful rivers, leaving them at high risk of extinction. Today’s lesson is published in the journal Scientific advances.

The lowlands of the Amazon rain forest are more diverse than any other ecosystem in the world. It is an important biome in the world that is found in about 18% of all the trees on Earth and carries cleaner water than the seven major river basins combined. Researchers have long considered and debated the nature of the growth and accumulation of Amazon’s rich biodiversity.

“Early evolutionary scientists such as Alfred Russel Wallace knew that many different species of primates and birds were on the other side of the river basins in the Amazon, and ornithologists now know that rivers are connected – in some cases Species – with the origin of many species of birds, “said Lukas Musher, lead author of the study, a postdoctoral researcher at the Academy of Natural Sciences at Drexel University and a new comparative biology researcher. Ph.D. graduate of Richard Gilder Graduate School of the United States Museum. “Furthermore, the collection of geological data suggests that these rivers are very strong, moving around South America for short periods of time, at the behest of thousands or tens of years. “

To investigate how the movement of rivers across the country affected the collection of birds in the Amazon, the researchers sequenced the genomes of six Amazonian bird species.

“While birds can fly, our research of current rivers in the Southern Amazon rainforest, although relatively small, is more effective at managing populations of these species. Sixth, leading to genomic divergence resulting in speciation, ”said the lead author of the study. Joel Cracraft, Lamont Curator and curator-in-charge in the Museum’s Ornithology Department.

However, as these rivers move around the country at different time scales, their movement can have different effects on bird species: as soon as the restoration of the rivers, the numbers of birds on each side can be combined before it has time to differentiate; the slower the river changes, the longer it takes to separate from each other; and when the rivers change in size, the number of birds varies and then reunite and merge as the river moves.

Scientists have found that the numbers of different birds need to be described as different, but they are still believed to be the same.

“While we know that the Amazonian species is not as diverse as other ecosystems, we have shown that the value of its species is underestimated even in well -educated groups such as birds. “said Musher. “Our results confirm other studies that have shown different types of diversity in the southern Amazon – a land threatened by rapid and persistent deforestation – but do not know. “The Amazon is a small area, which means that most of the Amazon’s birds could be threatened with extinction.”

There are probably more kinds of birds in the land than we know

More information:
Lukas J. Musher, The river redevelopment raises speciation in low -lying Amazonian birds, Scientific advances (2022). DOI: 10.1126 / sciadv.abn1099.

Courtesy of the American Museum of Natural History

Directions: Powerful rivers give way to Amazon’s rich bird diversity (2022, April 8) retrieved April 8, 2022 from rich.html

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