Añihue Reserve

Researchers from the University of Georgia, USA, genetic specialists, collect samples of barnacle Notochthamalus scabrosus on the coast of Añihue Reserve.

Studies by Dr. John Patrick Wares have proved the existence of two types of barnacle Notochthamalus scabrosus that look identical, but differ in parts of their genetic information, depending on their bio-geographic location.

“Species diversity along the Chilean coast is complex: Species compositions change significantly along the Chilean coast, and can be summarized into two bio-geographic regions: northern Chile is part of the Peruvian region whereas southern Chile is called the Magellanic region. These two regions overlap broadly between 30 and 42 degree south latitude. This system is similar to the Pacific coast of North America, a rare case of bio-geographic replication”, explains Christine Ewers, PhD candidate and assistant to Dr. Wares.

Dr. John Wares, Christine Ewers and field expert Daniel Saucedo, are studying why these regions exist. Instead of studying species that are only found in one of the two regions, they study the small acorn barnacle Notochthamalus scabrosus which is found along all of Chile. A northern and southern type exist which look identical but differ in parts of their genetic information. These differences may help the types to survive better in their respective environments.

During this trip, they collect barnacles in the coast of Añihue Reserve and RMB, previously in Melinka island and some places in Chiloé, between 40 to 44 degrees, and in the next days will make around Huinay Cientific Center, further north. The specific work to distinguish between the two types, will be done in their laboratory at the University of Georgia, USA.

The goal would be to test the hypothesis that the types are indicators for the bio-geographic regions. They know now that the “southern type” disappears where the Magellanic region ends, but they don’t know yet if the “northern type” disappears where the Peruvian region ends. And this, in fact, is right around here, highlighting the importance of this place for bio-geographic studies.


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