More secrets revealed from the Abaco blue holes

Thanks to Nancy Albury for this post! It continues to be remarkable what they are discovering in these systems.

Ancient DNA Extracted from Extinct Bahamian Tortoise

In recent decades, Bahamian blue holes and the fossils discovered within, have prompted scientists and the public to reconsider their understanding of the Bahamian natural environment. Research into the past environment of the Bahamas continues with the publication of a new study titled “Tropical ancient DNA reveals relationships of the extinct Bahamian giant tortoise Chelonoidis alburyorum“. The study was completed by a team of researchers and scientists from the Senckenberg Museum in Dresden, University of Potsdam, the Virginia Museum of Natural History, the Florida Museum of Natural History and the National Museum of The Bahamas.

The Chelonoidis alburyorum fossil was recovered from Sawmill Sink Blue Hole on the island of Abaco, Bahamas. The genetic information from the fossil revealed a closer relationship to the Galápagos Tortoise and the Chaco Tortoise of southern South America than previously thought. The information provides evidence for recurrent movement of this tortoise group overseas and evidence that the anoxic, thermally controlled marine environment of blue holes enhance DNA preservation. The exceptional preservation allows scientists to better understand evolution and population dispersal of extinct tropical species.

By | 2017-12-01T14:01:51-05:00 January 12th, 2017|Categories: Blue Holes|0 Comments

About the Author:

Craig Layman
My lab’s interdisciplinary pursuits provide for a multi-faceted understanding of environmental change in the coastal realm. We are ecologists, asking questions that span population, community, ecosystem and evolutionary sub-disciplines. We often use a food web based perspective, exploring top-down (e.g., predation) and bottom-up (e.g., nutrient excretion) mechanisms by which animals affect ecosystem processes. All of our efforts are framed within a broader outreach framework, directly integrating science and education, using approaches such as this website.

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