Biodiversity Paramount in Tropics, Ants Provide Clue

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Biodiversity paramount in tropics, ants provide clue. For ages this puzzle has made the geologists wrack their brains. The earth’s tropical regions inhabit an enormous variety of plant and animal species, but the more you move towards north or south the diversity plummets.

Scientists are yet oblivious to the fact why biodiversity gravitates towards focusing around tropical regions but they have put forth numerous theories. One professes that due to the lack of sunlight and heat it becomes difficult to inhabit biodiversity. Another professes that rising solar radiation in tropical latitudes could give rise to escalating evolution rates.

A third perspective points out that the frozen ecosystem of earth are at a nascent state compared to their equatorial equivalents. At the time of speedy global cooling called the Eocene-Oligocene boundary, which took place 34 million years ago, the planet’s tropical domain dwindled dramatically towards the equator while ice sheets developed at the poles. These contemporary colder habitats have not been present long enough for species to accumulate as they have in the tropics.

Endeavors to study these puzzles have included contrasting the number of species in numerous plants and animals groups such as trees, birds and mammals, covering individual regions of the planet. But corresponding species from Borneo to Belgium has yet to supply tangible answers about why regional variations in diversity prevail at all.

A team led by Prof. Evan Economo of the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) proceeded to confront this disparity with ants. While most studies concentrate on mammals and birds, ants provide a different perspective as far as biodiversity is concerned. They are present all across the globe and are ecologically dominant. They are well chronicled for an insect group said Prof. Economo.