Mountain Growth Helped Fish Diversity in New Zealand

An article posted to Science Daily about an increase in fish diversity in New Zealand talks about how the growth of mountain ranges influenced the diversity. The article, Mountain Growth Helped Spawn Fish Diversity in New Zealand, was written as part of a study done by the University of Otago. According to this study, when mountain ranges are formed, they can “separate biological populations and eventually lead to the creation of new species.” However, no clear examples of this have been found until now. A numerical model was used to reconstruct “the topographic evolution of the South Island over the past 25 million years” and by doing so discovered that the landscape of New Zealand “developed in six main tectonic zones.” Each of these zones has their own place that caught river drainage. Through this, they then used freshwater fish population tree analyses from these river drainage places. Using this, they were then able to prove that as the mountains grow, the fish DNA sequences change. By being able to understand these processes, they are able to understand how the landscape can shape biological evolution. I am curious as to exactly how they were able to understand all of this; some of the terms were advanced so I did not quite understand it all. However, I found it very fascinating that the environment can have an impact on evolution and modify or add species. I hope to be able to understand this topic further to find out more about how the Earth affects not only human life but other life as well.

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