News

UM researcher discovers new fish

When an oceanographer traveled to a coral reef atoll off of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula in 2006 to study how the environment affects fish populations, he solved another scientist’s 25-year-old mystery.

David Jones, a fisheries oceanographer at the Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies at the Rosenstiel campus, tested a new light trap he designed to catch fish returning to the reef in their larval, or juvenile, form.

With the light trap he caught a type of goby – one of the largest families of fish – that was slightly different from any published description of goby fish.

“Gobies are really tough. There are more species of them than any other fish. They all look alike,” Jones said. “But it didn’t match.”

So, Jones sent it to Benjamin Victor of the Ocean Science Foundation in California. Victor, an expert in goby identification, used a new technique called barcoding to see if the DNA of the larva that Jones had found matched an adult. The technique isolates a part of an organism’s mitochondrial DNA and uses it for identification.

“Barcoding is the best way to identify and separate species,” Jones said.

Victor matched the larva to an adult goby he had discovered in 1982 in Panama; but at the time he couldn’t confirm it as a new species because of the lack of a second specimen.

The new species diverged from its closest goby relative by 25 percent, which is a huge difference considering that humans and chimpanzees only differ by 1 percent to 2 percent.

Named Coryphopterus kuna, the fish’s description was published in July. It is the first vertebrate to have its DNA barcode included in its original species description. About 30,000 known species have been barcoded, according to the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.

Erica Landau may be contacted at e.landau@umiami.edu.

November 29, 2007

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

University of Miami coach Mark Richt apparently is a fan of President Teddy Roosevelt’s — or at leas ...

If there was one freshman the Miami Hurricanes knew would have to help entering the season, Brevin J ...

Not only has Gerald Willis been one of the best stories of the Miami Hurricanes’ season, he has also ...

The Miami Hurricanes started the season No. 8 nationally in both major polls. Now, they’re nowhere t ...

With a bye week on the horizon, the meager University of Miami offense has nearly two weeks to attem ...

Fareed Zakaria, a CNN host, journalist and author, tells UM students that global pressures are makin ...

The program, in which UM students mentor high school students, aims to get first generation students ...

Dr. Ralph Sacco, a top neurologist and researcher at the University of Miami Miller School of Medici ...

U.S. Congresswoman and Chairman Emerita of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Ileana Ros-Lehtine ...

Nearly 400 students participate in the National Gandhi Day of Service, the largest annual service da ...

The Miami Hurricanes volleyball team improved to 10-5, 6-2 in the ACC, with a 3-0 sweep of Boston Co ...

The Miami women's tennis team closed the Bedford Cup with a perfect day, winning each match in ...

"In The Pool" is a series highlighting the University of Miami swimming & diving stude ...

Playing in front of a boisterous home crowd, the University of Miami soccer team earned a, 1-1, draw ...

The Hurricanes fell in their ACC road opener to the Virginia Cavaliers. ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.