The Morphospecies Concept.docx

2 Pages

Biomedical Engineering
Course Code
BMEN 515
William Huddleston

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The Morphospecies Concept  In traditional cultures, people name species based on morphological similarities and differences  In biology, careful analyses of phenotypic differences are the basis of identifying morphospecies  Morphospecies can be identified in species that are extinct or living, and in species that reproduce sexually or asexually  Fossil species that differed in color or the anatomy of soft tissues cannot be distinguished  Neither can populations that are similar in morphology but were strongly divergent in traits like songs, temperature, or drought tolerance, habitat use, or courtship displays o Species like these are called cryptic species  Species that are indistinguishable morphologically, but divergent in songs, calls, odor, or other traits The Biological Species Concept  Under this concept, criterion for identifying evolutionary independence is reproductive isolation  If populations of organisms do not hybridize regularly in nature, or if they fail to produce fertile offspring when they do, then they are reproductively isolated and considered good species  Great strength of this concept is that reproductive isolation is a meaningful criterion for identifying species because it confirms lack of gene flow  Lack of gene flow is the litmus test of evolutionary independence in organisms that reproduce sexually The Phylogenetic Species Concept  Systematists are biologists who are responsible for classifying the diversity of life  This concept is also known as the genealogical species concept o This approach focuses on a criterion for identifying species called monophyly  Under this concept, species are identified by estimating the phylogeny of closely related populations and finding the smallest monophyletic groups o On a tree like this, species form the tips  Rationale behind the phylogenetic species concept is that traits can only distinguish populations on a phylogeny, if the populations have been isolated in terms of gene flow and have diverged genetically, and possibly morphologically as well  To be called separate phylogenetic species, populations must have been evolutionarily independent long enough for the diagnostic traits to have evolved  Populat
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