News Round-Up

Ecosystem diversity drives origin of new shark and ray species

Source: flinders.edu.au

What drives the evolution of new species of sharks and rays? Traditionally, scientists thought it required species to be separated by geographic or spatial barriers, however a new study of elasmobranchs (the group of sharks and rays) has challenged this expectation – and found evolution is happening faster than many think.

Flinders University evolutionary biologists Dr Jonathan Sandoval-Castillo and Professor Luciano Beheregaray tested how different oceanographic conditions in the Gulf of California and the Baja California Peninsula (Mexico) influenced the formation of new species of guitar fish (genus Pseudobatos) with the findings published in the Journal of Biogeography.

The team discovered four types, or ‘young species’, of guitar fish that have similar external appearance but are genetically different. MORE

Header image: Jonathan Sandoval-Castillo.