Saturday, November 28, 2015
Subscribe (News reader required)
- Professor Joins Expedition to Galapagos Home of Rare Tortoises
- ESF Honors Location on Haudenosaunee Territory
- Mighty Oaks Athletes Earn All-American Honors
- Women's Soccer Team Falls in Semifinals
- ESF Men 2nd, Women 3rd at XC Championships
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.Office of Communications
122 Bray Hall
1 Forestry Drive
Syracuse, NY 13210