Abstract

In this study I will be examining Foster’s rule as it applies to bats. Noticed by multiple scientists, there was a difference of body size on island and mainland animal species. Thought to be due to evolutionary factors, it was looked into, and in turn Foster’s Rule was discovered. Foster’s Rule, also known as the Island rule, is a rule in evolutionary biology regarding members of species becoming larger or smaller based on the amount of resources available to them in a given environment. The environmental conditions species on islands experience often create challenges or unique opportunities compared to those on the mainland. It can lead to dwarfism or gigantism. This theory was first brought to light by J. Bristol Foster (1964), originally proposed to occur and differ specific to taxa. Adjustments were made by Van Valen (1974), who coined the term Island rule. He generalized the rule to grade species on a scale based on body mass (Lomolino 1985). Early studies focused on this phenomenon in mammals. Recent research has expanded the field, including work done in birds by a Thompson Rivers University student (Veale 2020). My primary question is if size differences observed on island and mainland bat species can support the theory. According to Lomolino (1985), there is evidence to support this theory in bat species. This was done on a very small scale, so I would like to build upon this research and test Foster’s rule in bats using a larger dataset, worldwide. Based on current publications, I predict that my research will produce support for Foster's rule, with island bats having larger body masses than those residing on the mainland.

Department

Biological Sciences

Faculty Advisor

Matthew Reudink

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Examining if the Ecogeographical Foster’s Rule in Bat Species Can Predict The Size Differences Between Island and Mainland Bats.

In this study I will be examining Foster’s rule as it applies to bats. Noticed by multiple scientists, there was a difference of body size on island and mainland animal species. Thought to be due to evolutionary factors, it was looked into, and in turn Foster’s Rule was discovered. Foster’s Rule, also known as the Island rule, is a rule in evolutionary biology regarding members of species becoming larger or smaller based on the amount of resources available to them in a given environment. The environmental conditions species on islands experience often create challenges or unique opportunities compared to those on the mainland. It can lead to dwarfism or gigantism. This theory was first brought to light by J. Bristol Foster (1964), originally proposed to occur and differ specific to taxa. Adjustments were made by Van Valen (1974), who coined the term Island rule. He generalized the rule to grade species on a scale based on body mass (Lomolino 1985). Early studies focused on this phenomenon in mammals. Recent research has expanded the field, including work done in birds by a Thompson Rivers University student (Veale 2020). My primary question is if size differences observed on island and mainland bat species can support the theory. According to Lomolino (1985), there is evidence to support this theory in bat species. This was done on a very small scale, so I would like to build upon this research and test Foster’s rule in bats using a larger dataset, worldwide. Based on current publications, I predict that my research will produce support for Foster's rule, with island bats having larger body masses than those residing on the mainland.

 

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