Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Subscribe (News reader required)
- Fabius-Pompey HEROS Science Club Partners with ESF
- ESF Cheers for Student Athletes
- ESF Alumnus Inducted into NGA Hall of Fame
- Germain's Research Focuses on Working Forests
- ESF Student Named Scholar Athlete
- College Begins Expansion of Centennial Hall
- Loon Race, Guide Boat Celebrate Summer at Newcomb Campus
- High-tech, Remote-controlled Vessels Gather Data in Lake Ontario
- And They're Off: Graduates Move on to New Lives
- Honoree Sets Path for Grads to Improve Their World
- Dr. Thomas Amidon Honored as ESF Exemplary Researcher
- Three ESF Employees Honored with Chancellorís Awards
Finches key to Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution at risk
ESF researches solution.
Free QuickTime plug-in required
Copyright © | All Rights Reserved
The Mangrove finch, one of the finches on the Galapagos Islands that helped Charles Darwin develop his theory of evolution, is at risk of extinction from an introduced invasive species of fly.
Thirteen species of finches are found only on the Galapagos Islands. The fly, similar to a common housefly, is found in >90% of finch nests and is parasitic in the larval stage, feeding on the blood of the baby finches.
SUNY-ESF professor Dr. Melissa Fierke, along with graduate student, Warren Hellman, will travel to the Galapagos Islands Feb. 22 where they will work with other scientists at the Charles Darwin Research Institute on a program to eliminate the parasites.
"I think Darwin's finches, in particular, are iconic. They were an integral part of how Darwin's theory of evolution developed," Fierke said.
To get rid of the problematic flies, Fierke said they plan to rear flies under lab conditions, sterilize a large number of males so they can't reproduce, and release these to mate with female flies. The procedure has been successfully used to eradicate the screwworm fly in the southern U.S.
Feb. 12, 2009 was the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth.