Monday, January 16, 2006

KAKAPO PARROTS - Evolutionary theory aids species conservation

Here's New Zealand's Scoop with news on a new paper about their allocation theory.
Two University of Canterbury biologists are part of a team whose evolutionary informed approach to conservation is aiding the recovery of New Zealand’s critically endangered parrot, the kakapo.

Dr Bruce Robertson and Associate Professor Neil Gemmell (Biological Sciences) are members of a research team that has just had a paper published in the Royal Society of London’s prestigious journal Biology Letters. The manuscript outlines how the team, led by Dr Robertson, used sex allocation theory to remedy a conservation dilemma. A key prediction of sex allocation theory is that females in good condition should produce more sons.

The kakapo, which today has a population of 86 located on a handful of small island sanctuaries, is the subject of much global conservation interest. They only breed every two to five years and about 58% of eggs do not hatch.