…waterfalls as natural barriers causing habitat fragmentation and prevent gene flow act as drivers for specification in freshwater fish….interesting study, must be very special field work in such a fascinating environment surrounded by such waterfalls.

The Freshwater Blog

A new study by BioFresh members shows that waterfalls may promote biodiversity creation in river sub-drainages by acting as natural barriers to migration over an evolutionary time-frame.

A recent scientific paper by BioFresh colleagues at the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris and France’s interdisciplinary Institute of Research for Development (IRD) makes an important contribution to the science of freshwater ecology and biodiversity. Their study on the effect of natural habitat fragmentation in river systems, which was conducted in the Orinoco river basin in South America, found that highly fragmented sub-drainage ecosystems have higher neo-endemic species richness. This suggests that natural habitat fragmentation caused by waterfalls drives speciation for freshwater fish in sub-drainages.

Speciation is a key evolutionary process that generates different species. The paper shows the role that natural fragmentation in river systems plays in this process, and therefore in promoting freshwater biodiversity, but it also highlights the importance of river sub-drainages…

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