Hey there, welcome to the issues in Biodiversity spring semester 2020 podcast. This is Kevin Matteson, I work with Project dragonfly. And we are so glad you’re here checking out this new format for reaching students and different people involved in the program. So for this first podcast, we’re just going to be doing a discussion for each of the five discussions in the course. And these are going to be the members of the instructional team that are teaching different sections of this course. joining up talking, sharing some stories and then breaking down the articles a little bit. For those of you listening, it makes most sense to read the articles first. So you know, we’re talking about and then you can listen to this anytime you get a chance, you know, while you’re working out or walking or doing dishes or just lying in bed or wherever you are. The idea here is to Have some learning on the go, as we are calling in, in academia these days. So again, we’re glad you’re here, you’re in the right place. We did have some issues with audio quality in a few spots in this podcast. We’re not professionals, yet at least. And we’re not trying to be NPR or TED or anything like that with these podcasts. So bear with us when there’s some issues. I think there’s actually a period where the sound cuts out when I’m talking about my research background in New York City. Just a few seconds with a sound and then a few later on in the podcast of the first episode here. So I think that’s all I want to mention. We will be trying to highlight different members of the instructional team. So in this first one, it’s Katie, Amy and myself talking but we’ll hopefully have others joining on later on. And we’re open to any ideas you guys might have of how we could extend this or expand this. So if you have any ideas, you can reach me directly at my email, which is MattesKC@Miamioh.edu it’s ma TT s KC at Miami Oh h.edu or you can call me at 513-529-0837 again 513-529-0837 if you have any ideas or suggestions, I’m happy to hear it. But without further ado, let’s get to the podcasts and we hope you enjoy. Take care
of you like
my name is Katie Foley and my favorite color. I
We’re live now. We are already live. So welcome to our first dragon fly issues about diversity Podcast.
I am Kevin Matteson. With me is Amy Sullivan.
and Katie Feilin. Hi.
We’ll eventually get down to a tee. This is the first first one so. So we’re gonna talk about these articles for discussion, one in issues in bird biodiversity. There’s three articles and we’re going to kind of break them down. And our goal is to reach you guys wherever you might be listening. Like if you’re doing dishes, cooking, commuting at work, cleaning whatever you’re up to. Our goal is to kind of connect with you in a different way than just through standard dragonfly workshops. So that’s what we’re trying this out if you like it, let us know.
It subscribe button. Yeah.
Get back a review a five star review.
So yeah, so we’re still developing this. I’m not sure what where it’s gonna go.
But I thought we’d start off and just share a little bit of like research background story. Or nature, funny nature story from each of us So, and we’ll just do this quickly and then we’ll get into the articles to try and break those down a little bit. So who wants to go first?
I can go first. So this is Katie. I’m a primatologist, and I’ve worked in the field a while. And so I was studying whiteface. capuchins in Costa Rica. And we had a lot of rattlesnakes there. And so I was walking through an open area, and I actually jumped back first, as I saw the rattlesnakes, head, retracting and I screamed bloody murder. And my coworker who was a little bit further down the trail than me heard me screaming, goes on the walkie talkie. Katie, what’s up? I was like, I was just struck out by a rattlesnake. And he’s like, Oh, is that it? Okay, I’ll meet you at lunch.
Nice, empathetic. Yeah.
Yeah, so I had to do something better than having a rattlesnake strike at me to get any sort of sympathy from my coworkers.
There’s the plight of a field biologist, I guess, or tropical field biologist. That seems quite
cool. What about you, Amy? Yeah.
Um, so I, my background is in community ecology, specifically in desert and grassland systems. And I was working in the deserts of eastern Utah. It was kind of a strange system in that we had what we were studying were this bird called mountain clovers. And they’re typically found in short grass prairie, but where we were they were found in this really low shrub habitat. That happened to be also a place where there was active oil well. Yeah, lots of oil wells in the area. And so it also happened to be a really, really rocky place. And so these are very cryptic birds, they’re hard to see and finding them and there weren’t very many. So finding them was kind of a challenge. But so we had a lot of adventures along the way. One of which was, it was very rocky roads and we managed to go through tires at an alarming rate, you know, one to two flat tires a week, easily. The funny thing is, is it was me and another lady who were doing the fieldwork. And we would, you know, recognize that we had a flat tire pull the car over, get the jack out, and inevitably someone would one of the oil well, checkers, people that would be out working the oil wells and driving from weld well to make sure things were going as they should, would drive past and they would stop and change our tire for us. And so out of like the 40 flat tires we had that summer, we see Change a single one.
adventures from the field
adventures from the field. Nice. Yeah, this So mine is a little different than both years. So I did my research in New York City, looking at Urban Ecology and specifically bees and butterflies in community gardens in the Bronx in East Harlem.
terrorism’s just due to potholes on the Cross Bronx Expressway inside
bagful of which has like soapy liquid and he collects different insects and and I had these two guys come up to me wondering what I was doing. And they turned out to be undercover police. So they
like drug paraphernalia or something because I was kind of like huddled Over.
So yeah, so so they were like, and then as I explained it, they’re like, Oh, yeah, we’ve we’ve seen you around here. acting strange at least.
Spending time hiding in the bushes and whatnot.
Cool. All right. So that’s a just a quick intro. And so now let’s jump into the papers for this first discussion.
So we had let’s see three papers we have
Well, we have the pre Mac article, or textbook chapter chapter two, which is kind of like the general overview biodiversity. And then we have let’s see, what is it Marin Mannion at all, which is on mixing up with more adults, we have many in at all and more at all. So, but Let’s start with pre Mac, who am I saying is do you guys always say pre Mac or pre Mac? I don’t.
We teach online so we don’t have to say it ever.
We’re showing our True Colors now. I feel like he’s a very famous conservation biologist, though. I’m gonna go with him while well, Amy, you start to overview it.
Okay. Well, so the idea that we’re starting out with kind of is what is biodiversity. And of course, if you were to break down the word, it would be the diversity of life. And from the video in the discussion to do and also this chapter, you find that, you know, most people think about biodiversity is the number of species but it encompasses a lot more than that not just species, but also genetic diversity within populations in species and not just, you know, species diversity in genetic diversity, but also ecosystem diversity, like the variety of habitats and communities within a given ecosystem. Yeah, so that’s kind of a quick rundown of what biodiversity is.
Yeah, the biosphere, like, like, it’s kind of interesting looking at how the term or you know, originated, I guess, I saw someone was was bringing up the term in the 1970s or so biological diversity early on, and then eo Wilson who, who has done so many things, but was the first to like, you know, essentially conjugate that to biodiversity or short and it’s about diversity. But I love the term but I feel like sometimes it’s just synonymous with nature and people don’t really think about fully like the definitions you just laid out
well, and who’s using the term and how they use it so it can just represent Life in totality, versus a conservation grant might define biodiversity by number of species or actual diversity that includes both richness but also the distribution of those species in the community. Right.
Yeah, and I think, excuse me, I think that brings up an important point that we usually we often think of species, you buy a diversity of species in terms of number of species, but it’s a lot more than that. It’s not just the number of species in a particular area, which is technically species richness. But it also takes into account something called evenness, which is the distribution of the species as Katie was saying, you can have the same species richness, but say we have a community with 100 species in it. Two communities with 100 species in it and one of them has 96 Have those of the plants in that community of 100 plants and that community is one species. And then there’s one individual of a few other species. Compare that to a community where it’s also 100 individuals, but you have you know, 20 of one species 20 of another species 20 of another species and so on, where it’s much more evenly distributed, those kinds those communities, that kind of evenness is going to lead to, you know, different composition of those communities and also different dynamics within those communities.
Yeah, I had I had a grad advisor
that would like his pet peeve was when people would use biodiversity when they really meant species richness. And also, or, or like they would, they wouldn’t really take into account like Shannon diversity which gets at the evenness you’re talking about or they would like even mistake like Abundance like the number of individuals, which would be like, that’s a big problem if you so i think it’s it’s like biodiversity is like this umbrella term, but then there’s all these different ways to measure it. But people should be thinking about which what they’re really talking about, you know?
Yeah, what else? What else you got with this with this side chapter? I see a picture of a Chihuahua, Chihuahua, Nick.
You’re 2.3? Yes,
the dogs? Um, well, so that gets into this genetic diversity and thinking about, Oh, no, that’s the section where they’re talking about species right what it sees. I was actually thinking this might be a good time to think about, I mean, we can talk about what is the species and then that Actually will probably lead pretty well into the more article if you want to go there. But you know, when you talk about species with people, we all sort of think we’re talking the same language, you know that what a species is, to me is the same thing as it is to you know, my neighbor or
a, you know, someone who works on other organisms like bacteria, or plants or mammals or something like that.
Or conservation biologists. So, a species
can have different definitions.
There are people who think about species in terms of what the animal looks like. The morphological species concept is what that’s commonly known known as. And so that would be you know, looking at looking at an animal, looking at the characteristics, that animal has the physical characteristics and then Same, okay, this animal matches this, you know, group that we call a species based on, you know, the size and coloration and dental structure and
other things. You guys have anything to add to the morphological species?
Well, it’s interesting who uses these terms? So I’ve done some work with both human and primate evolution. And so when you think of the biological species concept, which is what most of us have learned in high school and an early college that can things interbreed and produce viable offspring. Well, we can’t do that with fossils. And so, the importance of the morphological species concept becomes more important for that field. But then, in my experiences, I have seen hybrids of primate species that you would think are very distinctive. She’s, and then all of a sudden they’re producing viable offspring that then are producing offspring and offspring. So by definition, they’re same species depending on what definition you’re using, which really makes you question that, especially when you connect it to conservation of how do we define it? How many animals exist and what their geographic ranges?
Like, is that is that in like captive settings, or is that
no that that’s in wild settings? For example, one of the issues with our partners in Brazil, the golden lion tamarin, there’s a common marmoset species that has been released there. And they’re afraid that even you know a tamarind and a marmoset that are different groups that they think there could be interbreeding. So that it’s One of those things with pet trade and releases back to the wild where they’re not supposed to, and all the sudden you’re like, Oh, very different geographic range should never meet in the wild. We help them meet and then which I guess is kind of like managed care. But these things are happening in the wild. Yeah.
Yeah, I think I think the morphological species concept is probably the most, you know, in practice. Like you say, Katie, like, like we all learn the biological species concept is considered like the most robust, or I’ve often thought of it as the most classical definitions in the way that we define species. But in practice, you just can’t always like ever no will two things interbreed or not, or do they? Like with my work with entomology and insects? You know, in practice, I mean, we’re still discovering so many species like you, you luckily to have a couple specimens, you know, pinned in the museum that you’re looking at and how do you know Whether they would integrate or not, is, you know, so you kind of just have to go with morphology at that case until we get a little further with like genetic approaches or with senior to breeding.
Well, isn’t that a big problem with the mimics that there are many things that from a lay person you would think would be morphologically the same species but with genetics, you’re like, Oh, those are different families or even higher.
Right, like, yeah, you would, you would, there’s a whole the whole group of them. I’m thinking of these these butterflies in the gym, they all look like extremely similar. And it’s, what do we have? We have two types of mimicry, like the bait seen in the malaria mimicry, and one of them is where there’s like one is toxic and the others join in. Even though they’re not toxic. But like, they all look so similar that Yeah, unless you really mark them and watch What they do and how they, whether they breed or not, you know, you could easily lump them all into one. But then I think other cases, you could split things that actually are one like if there’s morphological, if there’s sexually dimorphic might be the, and the males and females with different you currently classify them as two different species? Or if they have like different color phases, or size phases or things that happen in initially, you think they’re actually different species when they’re the same? Yeah.
Yeah, so there are lots and lots of different ways to look at species to define species and morphological. Biological are two of the most common and another really common one looking at genomes, like Kevin was talking about looking at is the phylogenetic species concept and that looks at kind of the evolutionary history and and Which, like it’s a species defined based on common ancestry. So those are kind of as we get, as genomic tools become more accessible and less expensive to use, that is a way that a lot of studies aren’t going.
One of the things I find interesting about that is even then it’s hard to tell because where do you divide that line? And so how many base pair differences do we say, Oh, this is a new species versus not. And it’s definitely adding a lot of enlightenment two different things, but it’s also adding a lot of confusion.
Right? And there’s a whole field of study taxonomy that goes into, you know, where do you draw the lines, even with just morphology? You know, how do you decide what’s a species and what isn’t, and they argue about it all the time. constantly change it. taxonomy constantly changes that species names, names and which families they’re in and all sorts of things.
keeps us on our toes.
Yep, that’s for sure.
So, so there’s some more concepts in this chapter. But is there any without us going into like every detail of it? Was there anything else that stood out to either of you in this the pre Mac? Well,
um, I think it might be good to discuss kind of more species. And the more article before we get into genetics and ecosystem stuff.
Okay. All right.
Yeah. Let’s let’s switch gears a little bit. Now. I’ll share that I did Google Richard be pre Mac.
He is Professor of Biology at Boston University.
He’s got all sorts of awards and he was at Duke and Harvard. Not too shabby with 23,900 citations to his
All right, so Maura at all let’s look at that article. This is this article published in 2002 11.
And it’s called how many species are there on Earth and in the ocean. So, one thing I just noticed about this article that I like is that it’s it’s in plus biology, which stands for Public Library of science, biology, and it’s it’s freely available open access article, so I’m a big fan of articles moving in that direction in journalist moving that direction. The I think The in a nutshell. I mean, this article starts off with this kind of compelling idea of like if aliens come to earth and like are like how many unique life forms Do you all have? And how, like sheepish we would feel that we couldn’t really answer that question.
So they kind of the author’s kind of paint this, this idea of this this kind of took me to like Star Trek.
Of course, you know, something’s landing and beaming down and wants to know right away what how many spaces and we are shamefully we don’t know.
So, they get into how they how you can up like estimate different, you know, numbers of species and things. And I think the most interesting idea is this acumen species accumulation curve. Which is like basically what they used to be called the collectors curve, but it’s kind of viewed. You know, like the first day you go into a forest you see four different bird species. And if then the following day you go out and you see those same four species and the next day you go see those same four species, you kind of feel like, Alright, I think I’ve got a handle on the what’s in this for us. But if you go out in the first day, there’s four species the next day you go out and there’s, you don’t see any of those four you saw the previous day, you see different four and keeps going each day. Then you’re accumulation of species like linear and you don’t know where it’s going to top off and you just, you just know there’s a lot of birds in this forest and each day they’re changing. So anyway, that’s that’s an interesting concept. And I don’t know did you for any of your research use species accumulation curves
Did it my paper that just came out on the seventh It was funny when I sent it out. I started in the field, I was monitoring trees in Indonesia. And I initially started with 732 trees, I finally had time to sit down, analyze the data and realize, okay, I don’t have enough plots. And so I added another seven plots to have over 1200 trees. And the reviewers were like, why did you add more plots mid mid study, I was like, I had more species. I didn’t collect Lee, and I wasn’t I mean, I started reaching it, but just the diversity of it. Even with 1000 trees, I still had lots of unsurveyed species.
So you didn’t you didn’t see the leveling off of the curve Even then,
I got a little bit of it, but not what you would really help or in since I was studying primates, I had to reduce my number. My time spent studying trees otherwise it’s going to become a bomb. Another primatologist
the trees didn’t move though so it was, you know, easier to study them than the monkeys.
Yeah, tropical trees are no joke though for sure. Oh, yeah.
Don’t even get me started and tropical
trees. Yep. So yeah, for me with bees in community gardens in New York City. So we we found 54 different species in 18 Gardens and the reviewers of the papers were like, Well, how do you know if there’s 700 community gardens in New York City? What if you had studied, you know, 200 community gardens, which would have been logistically impossible for 19 as an individual sample, but then I did run the species accumulation and show that, you know, even if I add in more gardens it levels off and we estimate there’s probably about 60 species that are typical to gardens regardless of how many would survey in City. So that seemed to you know, hold them at bay a little bit, I guess.
And, and help us, you know, understand things a little more as the most important thing I think so.
Cool. So, Amy, have you ever done any of these methods? Or?
Um, no, because I’ve usually been studying a particular species of interest
or had other questions that didn’t really.
They didn’t really ask Are they didn’t really, that wouldn’t have been an appropriate tool for what I was trying to do. So no, yeah, but it is a useful tool it Yeah, you know, it’s a fantastic thing to be able to say is my sampling effort, you know, getting the kind of the kind of reach that I needed to.
Yeah. Yeah. So they so so Part of this article is, is kind of a unique approach because they noticed that like, if you plot the number of species described from 1750 to present, like it’s it’s looking like a linear increase. And so it’s it’s hard to know how many total species there are on earth. And but if you if you plot the number of phyla, like the much broader taxonomic unit of phyla or even class or order, you start to see a leveling off and that that scene from that you can you can take those and and extrapolate it to the number of species. And they show there’s a good linear relationship they can get there. And so that’s kind of the approach they take is like, we don’t we have no clue how many species but we think we know how many file and we think we know the relationship between phylum class order family all the way down to species so therefore, we’re going to use the all this math To predict in different groups, and then they even test their model, which I thought was kind of cool with like comparing two well known animal groups, and they show that this is in figure two of that paper that it’s called validating the higher tax on approach. And they show that it’s, it’s a pretty strong relationship. So they’re basically like, hey, look, our, our methodology is pretty good here.
Yeah, yeah, one of the things I thought was interesting, and there’s so many different ways that people have mathematically figured out how many species exist. And so this is one example. There’s a lot of things I like about it. But if you just I like to zoom out when I’m reading a paper and look at their results, and think about what they mean. And so they had really high numbers of mammals compared to all the other taxonomic groups. If you think about evolutionary time, and then also the amount of time that scientists then studying each of those groups, um, it seems to me that that sampling bias really skews it. And it you know, they’re saying that we have almost catalogued all the plants that we know and having worked in worked in tropical environments and you know, I have all my tree species down to genus because species was just impossible. They weren’t half the species in my plants were probably not even defined by science. And so I’m like, Oh, so we’re only missing what’s the number 70,000 plants species and the entire world? Oh my god. Oh, no, no, I kinda
malarkey on this.
Many of you know, just in this thing. So we have three people that primarily study animals. Um, when was the last time you ran into an expert on protozoa? Um, let alone a taxonomist there. And so I think there’s definitely a kind of a skew and especially that skew of our understanding of the temperate regions versus the tropical regions.
Then So, I don’t know, I think 8.7 might be a little small, in my opinion.
Right. So I
think that’s a fair assessment. I mean, you think about our own biases are two things that are easily viewable and relatable, so large, vertebrates, colorful, you know, so birds are a high priority. But you think,
Well, yes, yes.
What do you think about like places we haven’t even been able to get into You know, for various reasons that are relatively unexplored, lots of things we just don’t even know, you know, like, a lot of the tropics, especially in the African continent, we don’t know that much about a lot of the species there. And the fact is that we are, we are discovering new species all the time, like, you know, the more at all paper and then just general, you know, we know that we don’t know how many species there are on Earth, but I’m constantly surprised by how many new species we discover. And there’s a paper from 2009 with Savalas, and Ehrlich as the authors, and they point out that since 1993, and the paper was written that 408 new mammalian species were described.
Even you know,
that’s not even getting into the other taxa, and not the things that most people don’t ever think about, including, you know, the protozoa, the bacteria, the small things that are hard to study.
Right? Yeah, they, I found I really liked their one of their paragraphs towards the end where they say, you know, our current estimate of 8.7 million species narrows the range of three to 100. suggests by taxonomic experts, but it suggests that after 250 years of classifying species, we’ve only identified 14% of the terrestrial species and 9% even if you still believe they’re 8.7 million, still a very low percentage. And then it says given the current rates of description eukaryotic species. And the average number of new species described in a taxonomists career and the estimated cost to pay a taxonomist per species, right? So they do all these interesting sort of, yeah, calculations. And they say it may take as long as 1200 years for us to describe all species on Earth and in the oceans at current levels, and it would require 303,000 texts on this and more proximity cost the 360 $4 billion. And I know because I have a few friends that are taxonomists in like, yo, there’s not much funding for people do anymore. So it is unfortunate and they especially get into like how many species may go extinct before they are described. I said
and then the other issue with that is the great Let’s say we describe all the species on Earth, how much do we know about the species? And how they interact with other species in their environment and their conservation needs? And all of those things? You know, we’re just scratching the surface by knowing the number of species.
Right? I name is just the very beginning, right? It should follow with actual research on but that that’s like a whole nother level.
Yeah. All right. So the question just, do you need to know how many species exists in order to save them?
I’m just gonna throw that out there. You don’t have to comment. But something to think about.
That’s a good discussion prompt, actually.
Perhaps for someone to consider in the class.
All right, let’s, let’s keep moving. Let’s go to our last article on the latitudinal gradient.
Yeah, so you know We talked a little bit about what it is bio diversity, how many species there are. And then we start looking at trends of why we see some places that have a lot of species and some places that don’t. And so one of these really kind of popular trends that scientists like to think about is the latitudinal biodiversity gradient. And so basically, that’s mean that near the equator, we see a lot of different species. And then as we go up in latitude, so closer to the poles, we see fewer species. And this has been studied in a lot of different taxa. There’s a large collection of different hypotheses on why this might exist. But this paper that we had you read then said, Okay, well, we know this exists now. But we have a lot of these factors that aren’t changing because we’re looking at things in present time. So what happens if we go into deep time? And then look at different orientations of the tectonic plates? And between interglacial and glacial times, I call them interglacial and glacial times, but they call them Ice House and greenhouse time, so times when there are a lot of glaciers versus not. And then we can use these factors to help differentiate different hypotheses. And Amy, you had a, an interesting comment on this paper. I think that we were talking about.
Can you give me a little more than that? I don’t remember. Specifically,
I forgot what you were saying. So this is speaking, we can we’re testing Okay.
Um, oh, that’s what it was. This is this paper, I could see being frustrating to people who aren’t used to reading scientific papers. Because, again, you know, we have this idea, public at large, has this idea that scientists know everything, right, that there are solid conclusions at the end of every paper. And you notice that this paper draws some general conclusions about, you know, that in ice house and worlds, there tends to be a stronger gradient. That doesn’t seem to be there in greenhouse worlds, but then offers a whole bunch of possibilities as to why No, no firm conclusion about anything in particular. So I think that was my comment, right, Katie?
Yeah, it was your comment, which is just kind of funny that you set up a paper that talks about the weaknesses of our current understanding of this topic, and then the conclusions are, we’re still left in the same spot that well, plan plays a part of it. And maybe it’s time to visit a cradle or, or a museum and what we don’t know yet we should study this more. Yeah. Yeah. So,
I think that that speaks to science as a process that, you know, rather than thinking science has the answers, you know, go with what we understand right now, but understand that that, you know, our understanding our current understanding could could shift based on true results and future study.
Yeah, this is one of those. Oh, Kevin, you’re gonna go in here.
Yeah, well, I was just gonna say, I think it’s interesting how like, early in the intro there like the lbg. So first of all, just pick up the lbg, which just made me think of like, the BS Two years something
latitude biodiversity giant
Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
CFG and lbg they all go together in some sort of unique way.
We need a meme with RBG Yeah. And the BFG and the lbg Um, so like it says lbg is regarded as the dominant first order macro ecological pattern on earth today. And this is the intro and like, basically, I feel like it’s getting away you’re just talking about me how like, ecology and like, we we have sometimes have like physics, envy of like, we don’t have like universal laws like gravity that just like always works in the same place in time. Well, I guess you could argue gravity’s not like that. But any case. I like that. It’s about diversity gradient. Like our like, as for college, he’s like the one law that’s like, yeah, this generally occurs and then they like, by the end, you’re like, Oh, this article you’re like, wait, what, what? What is it?
Yeah, it was funny. For many defense. This was one of my questions and I had an entomologist and a primatologist. And they broke up into the site, which was great because I could just sit there while they’re going back and forth. The value in that value of the lb T and what it works and what it doesn’t work, I’m like to get in all those citations. I’m good and I’m just gonna let them take up times.
I’m gonna just send using ltg and my common language like, you know, so
I just throw it out there. Um, yeah, I thought that was cool. And then I thought I’m like, I towards point about it being frustrating to read this kind of article, not just because of like, the, like, the lack of a clear ending or like conclusion, which I actually think like, as humans, we need to be okay with that, like, so often we want a simplified view view of the world. And what’s cool about science and like critical thinking, in general is that, you know, things aren’t always like clear cut or simple to understand. And I think this article gets to that, but I do think like some of the figures and things like the whole cradle tropics, as cradles were or museums, or both. I really liked the terminology because it was like this cool metaphor of like, Is it a cradle where more species just evolve in the tropics? Where is it a museum where the same number is the evolution rate is the same, but they just like species tend to live longer in the museum in the tropics. Do to whatever factor it’s just compelling to me, although then they like shoot those both down. They’re like, no, there’s actually very little data to support those
So again, I was like, I understand and then I was like, oh, but it’s not like that. Okay, or it’s not always like that at least.
Well, I think that always like that is really important because when we are trying to explain things we want to say, okay, it’s definitely this versus not this. And the idea of alternative hypotheses is just most of these things have some factors that are this and some factors are this. So productivity, solar radiation, seasonality, niche size, are all important factors of the diversity in the tropics, competition, disease. And so it’s not just one thing that we Would love to say, Oh, it’s this, it’s only this.
Right? It’s not simple that way. And even in that first, in the introduction of that paper, it talks about, you know, this latitude by whatever the lbg is, you know, a pattern that we recognize that explains all this stuff. Oh, but wait, you know, frogs and salamanders and other taxa don’t really follow this.
I think because, you know, there seems to always be an exception to the rule.
Especially when there’s simple rules. Yeah.
I love their sentence. They have this one sentence where they cite themselves and they’re like, Man, you did a law, which is always great, right? Like it is these people many and oh, it’s us. Oh, have
you read our other paper yet? You should.
Yeah, you should. It’s great. It’s the best
bet. agree with themselves.
They say, basically, we found no evidence for a modern type lbg in our global sampling mediated analysis of Meza with terrestrial dinosaurs, including birds. Yeah, it’s it’s really cool that they like, yeah, we already looked at dinosaurs, including birds, and they did not show the lbg but they did show a strong correlation with the distribution of land area and I thought that was super make about how the land masses have changed. You know, where they’ve been at different periods in areas of the Earth’s history.
Yeah, and that makes logical sense that Oh, yeah, the landmass is where there is more leanness further, a further latitude compared to the fortune percent that’s currently in the tropics. The other thing they mentioned really briefly, but they didn’t really dive in to was the fact that in tropical areas, things are less likely to class allies. And so we’re basing everything on the fossil record. But especially with these interglacial periods, we don’t have as many things fossilized, as we do in temperate regions, which then skews what you can find and you know, things like soil composition and all that influence your, your rate of fossilization. And so then how that influences your interpretation of what was going on, especially when we’re going back, you know, 100,000 200,000 million years ago. Yeah.
Yeah. And I think one of the things that for this article to me stands out, thinking about so often so often We think about what we’re seeing is how it’s always been, you know, we go out and we look at, especially if you’re in the Midwest, and you go out and you visit a prairie. Well, this thing that I’m seeing, it’s not as big as it used to be. But this is how it was. And the reality is, No, it isn’t. It’s different than it was when Europeans settled, it’s different than before Native Americans started, you know, applying fire and managing the areas. It. It’s easy as humans to think that what we see in or experiencing is what has always been. And so it’s interesting to think about, you know, how have climate been different in the past? How have the landmass has been in different places and what sort of forces were going on in those places and
how the Midwest was like, was like a shallow sea, however, many hundred million years ago and that’s why we have all these fossils of trilobite. And such all over the place here in Ohio and throughout, you know, yeah, so I think you know, that’s what’s cool about the deep time, which like I was making fun of the title because I feel like
we had aliens coming in the first paper and now we go back into deep time time. Yeah, it’s
but it’s but it’s actually it’s it’s good. It’s good perspective to like, I think carry a little bit but anyway, Katie, you were gonna say something on it.
I was just gonna throw out a trivia question to all of us. We were talking about things that are different now than before. And so where did we find our first primate fossils?
I would guess Africa but maybe I’m wrong.
Maybe do I guess?
I’m gonna guess not Africa, Europe?
I don’t know. So our earliest records are coming from Wyoming
Oh, that’s interesting.
Yeah. So I mean, these are kind of that 80 million years ago, but just because it was a very different environment. And so now it’s just rock and you know, people are digging these tiny little primates out of there. But yeah,
oh, that’s really cool. I’m picturing like, little bush babies or something like little Uh,
yeah, they’re, they’re, like, more squirrelly. I mean, there’s lots of primates are not primates. But yeah.
Yeah. And that goes into all sorts of interesting things
that we see right now. The thing I’m thinking of specifically is like horses, you know, wild horses don’t exist. Okay? native wild horses don’t exist in North America and haven’t for a long long time. But horses are near. North America is where a horse Initially evolved, right, but they went extinct in North America, but then they were found in like Eurasia. So I think it’s really interesting, you know, that you’re finding primates in places where, you know, we don’t have native primates in North America. We don’t have horses anymore, although we did at one time. Just that, again, what we see now isn’t what has always been.
That’s, that’s a you know, whenever people talk about like native plants and wanting to put native plants in their backyard, I might it’s like a total pet peeve for me because I’m like, native going back how long and native meaning what region or spatial scale so like, you know, I basically like I’m looking for like, native to North America as of 10,000, you know, 10,000 years ago because otherwise like you’re saying like, the horses are native to North America. Oh, no, they’re not there. It depends on the scale. So
I feel the same way about the Paleo diet. You want to get you riled up? I’m like,
going back 4.2 million years like, Where are you going?
Our brains were only a fourth of the size of whatever. Yeah. Do you believe that time?
Wow, that sounds like a whole nother podcast we can get into.
Yeah, what else you got? Amy? I know we’re we’re getting close to our time limit, but
good. Yeah. Well, the other two aspects of biodiversity that we could comment on from the premack article or the chapter was genetic diversity and ecosystem diversity
any pressing thoughts on either of those
Well, I just want to connect this a little bit to conservation. And so we oftentimes think about biodiversity hotspots, and we should say biodiversity hotspots. And so the sheer number of species and their risk of being threatened, where do we want to say, and there are a couple of papers that talked about wilderness areas and cold spots and the importance of also conserving those so that we could collect the diversity of ecosystems because, you know, places like the tundra have low levels of diversity, but that role that that ecosystem plays in the
whole world is really important.
Yeah, that’s, I think, for me, I go back to just being precise in your use of biodiversity and like not, you know, if you mean genetic biodiversity, or you want to talk about like, like, just Trying to clarify that and not making it Sundance synonymous with nature because clearly like nature is is everywhere, right. But biodiversity does show these trends. Well, in terms of species richness, which is really what we’ve mostly been talking about. But yeah, it’s an interesting point, Katie, like, like, we tend to think of like biodiversity is good. Therefore, we should really focus on the tropics, in a
But there’s endemic diversity, and they’re unique places that you know, so there’s some other things that aren’t captured in just like those quantified measures. Yeah.
And I think one of the things related to genetic diversity specifically, that is good to keep in mind is that genetic diversity is going to be kind of your your ad
For future abilities of species to evolve and adapt to, you know, changing climates and changing conditions. And so that’s something to think about in a conservation kind of mindset is, you know, how do you facilitate retaining, like preserving that genetic diversity? How do you facilitate? If you have populations that aren’t able to interact, you know, maybe they’re too far apart, or they’re fragmented too much for the species for the animals to to move between the populations? Naturally, you know, do you need to move the species, the individuals from one place to another to help with that gene flow to maintain that diversity, and that’s, you know, something that they had to do with prairie chickens to help preserve that species. So just some things to think about there.
Yeah, I think genetic Like preserving genetic diversity, it’s it does get you into like preserving populations of a species, you know, because you don’t want to lose those alpha males and those those genes from that population. So, like the prairie chickens or Galapagos tortoise is another example where there’s all these subspecies on different islands. And some people say there should be separate species. Some say they’re subspecies. Some say they’re just populations. But regardless, they’re each unique genetic groups, you know, in lineages, and it seems like we really should preserve all of them if we can, but it does get into hard decisions and things.
Um, cool. All right. Well, I think let’s wrap it up now in cuz this is just our first first time doing this and I don’t want it to go too long. So no one will ever listen again to us rambling.
We never ramble on Congrats.
You’re out there listening. I mean, our goal with this is just to be another human another human interaction that a little different than the reading the text and the workshops and emails and things. But yeah, we hope it’s been useful. And I guess we will sign off. Do you, Katie? You want to say anything in the way of a goodbye?
We are articles and we’re looking forward to hearing what you have to say about all the articles in the workshop.
Cool. Nice. Amy. You got a final word.
I second that. Um, yeah, fine. We’ll see you in the workshops.
All right. Bye, everyone. See ya.