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Jan 31 2012

Scientific publication title of the day

Desperately Seeking Stable 50-Year-Old Landscapes with Patches and Long, Wide Corridors” in PLoS Biology.

I’m not sure if the authors purposefully came up with a title reminiscent of a personal ad, or if it’s just my overactive imagination. Either way, it makes me giggle. I mean, “long, wide corridors”? What a size queen.

For anyone wondering what the paper is actually about, the authors are looking for particular types of environments in order to investigate if corridors effectively conserve biodiversity. Human urbanization (roads, housing developments, Walmarts) serves as barriers that plants and animals have a hard time crossing. This fragments large populations into a lot of smaller ones that can’t interbreed as much. Small populations are more susceptible to events that reduce genetic diversity, like inbreeding and genetic drift. Decreasing genetic diversity is generally considered Bad, because…well, I’m lazy and Wikipedia does a good job at explaining:

“Genetic diversity serves as a way for populations to adapt to changing environments. With more variation, it is more likely that some individuals in a population will possess variations of alleles that are suited for the environment. Those individuals are more likely to survive to produce offspring bearing that allele. The population will continue for more generations because of the success of these individuals.”

Corridors are often used to attempt to make up for this fragmentation, and the authors want to see if the corridors are actually successful in promoting gene flow between populations. Thus their personal ad that made me giggle.

7 comments

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  1. 1
    Anthony K

    Nice.

    Every so often I check up on the Yellowstone to Yukon initiative. It’d probably be a done deal already if nature were oil.

  2. 2
    Ben Crockett

    I love that you’re a fellow bio nerd. I read that title and guessed exactly what it was.

  3. 3
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    The note of desperation in finding such just depresses me.

  4. 4
    peterh

    Note that for centuries, the hedgerows of Britain & Europe have been recognized as quite narrow, not lengthy “corridors” which are their own vibrant ecosystems. Documentaries showing the adaptability of scavengers, carnivores & birds of prey in metropolitan areas are common fodder for “science” channels. “Invasive” plants are a constant maintenance problem in urban areas. That paper’s premise smacks of Agenda 21.

  5. 5
    Kevin

    There are some deer corridors over some of the freeways in New Jersey (no kidding, the western half of Jersey is positively overrun with the big rats). Don’t know the age of the corridors, but 1960 sounds about right for the freeway construction.

  6. 6
    LaPlace

    I play the coffee adjective game. Look for the description of types of coffee in Starbucks or where ever. Apply the descriptions to the gender of your choice. Giggle inwardly.

  7. 7
    Neal

    Do interstate medians count as corridors?

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