Tag Archives: cladistics

A Little From Columbea

It’s odd to think of those seemingly ordinary pigeons being closely related to grebes or flamingoes, but based on genetic analyses they’re all grouped together in the Columbea clade. Columbea is made up of two smaller clades – the Columbimorphae (which consists of doves, sandgrouse and mesites) and the Phoenicopterimorphae (flamingos and grebes).

Oddly enough, the Dodo is also nested within the Columbimorphae with the pigeons. I have no idea whether the Dodo would have been invited.

Tanya Strydom is a PhD student at the Université de Montréal, mostly focusing on how we can use machine learning and artificial intelligence in ecology. Current research interests include (but are not limited to) predicting ecological networks, the role species traits and scale in ecological networks, general computer (and maths) geekiness, and a (seemingly) ever growing list of side projects. When not being a nerd she can probably be found with a warm beverage and busy with some or other art project. Tweets (sometimes related to actual science) can be found @TanyaS_08.

Subspecies – Do We Need Them?

Image Credit: billp1969, Pixabay licence, Image Cropped

You might have come across the word “subspecies” when reading about biodiversity, but what does the term actually mean? And do we really need a more precise classification beyond species? There is unfortunately no consensus about this. Ask 5 biologist and you’ll get at least 10 different answers. So let’s have a look at why it’s such a complicated issue.

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Whales Are Fish: Weird Perspectives on Classification

You would think that after researching how a species will react to climate change, which individuals are more likely to avoid predators, and what its DNA says about its evolutionary history, simply classifying what species an animal is would be pretty simple. Unfortunately that’s not the case. I distinctly recall being given the runaround by my primary school teacher when asked to define what a mammal was (according to the internet a coconut qualifies, so maybe that debate’s not over yet).

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