Good news from our little home on the prairie

Go say hello to Rob Denton — he writes at the group blog, The Molecular Ecologist, and he’s got a very nice post up about species differentiation rates varying with locomotion mode. Basically, terrestrial organisms form more species than aquatic or flying organisms, because they face more geographic barriers.

No, he’s not joining freethoughtblogs. It’s even better: he’s joining the University of Minnesota, Morris biology faculty, so he’s going to be hanging around here in the upper midwest for a while. See? That job search I was part of around Christmas of this year had a successful outcome.

Also, the two job searches I chaired last month also were extremely successful, and we snared a couple of phenomenal colleagues who will also be starting here in the fall…but I’ll say no more until they’re actually here. Boy, this place is going to have a lot of new faces and some big changes this year!


  1. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says


    Congratulations, Rob!

    I’ll read some of your work to find out if there’s an explanation for why osteichthyes is so diverse if acquatic organisms speciate at a lower rate than terrestrial ones.

    First guess? Maybe the dispersion and lowered barriers to intergroup contact permits a longer average species lifetime and that increase more than compensates for a lower rate of speciation? We’ll see!

  2. says

    Prepare, PZ, for the experience of being regarded by the new kids as the university’s learnèd sage. Or as the resident old fart. (My expectations of being treated with awe and respect by the junior faculty in my school have fallen somewhat short of the mark.) ;)

  3. Pierce R. Butler says

    … terrestrial organisms form more species than aquatic or flying organisms, because they face more geographic barriers.

    Uh, then howcum bats reportedly have more species than any other taxonomic family?

  4. nomdeplume says

    The “form more species” on land is at one level just a truism. But the three categories are not really as distinct as they seem. Some terrestrial species cover large distances, some are restricted to, say, a single log. Similarly flying organisms may cover big distances or be very restricted to, say, a single patch of woodland. Finally aquatic species may also be able to travel a long way or be restricted to a particular reef or lake. In short, the threee categories are not very useful, although in general terms I would agree that terrestrial organisms probably have more opportunities for speciation.