Għaliex veggies kbar jirregolaw is-sikek

AĦBARIJIET TAD-DIVING

Għaliex veggies kbar jirregolaw is-sikek

Kopja tal-pappagall

Coral-cruncher: pappagall wieqfa. (Ritratt: Victor Huertas)

Erbivori kbar huma l-futur tal-ħut sikka, skond riċerka xjentifika ġdida fl-Awstralja. Dak li hu deskritt bħala studju innovattiv wera li huma d-dieti ta’ speċi ta’ ħut differenti li jiddettaw kemm jevolvi malajr kull wieħed. 

The researchers had expected geographical location to be the key to reef-fish evolution – so were surprised to learn that it was more about what they ate and how big they grew.

“We found that the fastest way to have more species, or biodiversity, on a reef is to be big and vegetarian,” said Prof David Bellwood, one of the research team from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University in Townsville.

"Erbivori bħall-ħut kirurgu u l-pappagall huma essenzjali għad-diversità ekoloġika tas-sikek tal-qroll illum." 

Kien relattivament reċentement f'termini evoluzzjonarji – inqas minn 23 miljun sena ilu – li l-ħut erbivoru żviluppa karatteristiċi li ppermettewhom jesploraw żoni differenti ta 'sikek.

"Minħabba dan, is-sikek tal-lum huma dinamiċi ħafna u għandhom turnover mgħaġġel," qal Prof Bellwood. "Dawn l-erbivori huma l-element ewlieni li stabbilixxa sikek tal-qroll moderni."

The team constructed an evolutionary “tree of life” comprising the majority of reef-fish species around the world – more than 6000 – including data on aspects such as their diet and range. This database was used to analyse what drove variations in rates of species formation.

 

19 Ġunju 2020

Alexandre Siqueira was the study’s lead author. “Up until now we knew that many factors could have influenced the pace of reef-fish evolution, but these factors were never examined all together,” he explained. Previous studies had concentrated on numbers of reefs and the species they contained, meaning that little was known about how the reefs functioned and the roles played by individual fish species in maintaining their health.

“By feeding on the algae that compete with corals, herbivorous fishes may have also helped corals to expand through time,” said Siqueira. “In turn, this expansion in the corals allowed the diversification of other reef-fish groups that depend on them. 

"Li nifhmu kif is-sikek huma mibnija matul l-evoluzzjoni tagħhom ifisser li nistgħu nilħqu fehim aħjar tal-proċessi fundamentali li jżommuhom fi stat b'saħħtu llum."

L-istudju huwa ppubblikat f'Nature Communications.

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