Editorial Note and Articles
Keywords:Trinity, Student, Scientific, Review, Volume, VI, Mesopotamia, Marshlands, Evolution
Editor: Kate Kleinle
Restoring the Mesopotamian Marshes: Iraq’s Garden of Eden
Muireann Cotter, Senior Sophister, Botany
The Mesopotamian Marshes, sometimes known as the Garden of Eden, were once twice the size of the Everglades and of unique ecological and cultural significance in Iraq. This review aims to investigate why the wetland is receding and to assess the potential restoration of the Mesopotamian Marshes.
Solutions to restoring the marshes are based around restoring ecosystem functionality by improving water flow, quality, quantity and distribution, as well as improving soil health. Prior research has established that there is potential for partial restoration of the wetlands under current conditions, but efforts to reach this potential have displayed mixed results, and anthropogenic activities continue to slow restoration efforts.
The findings suggest that more research needs to be done on local ecosystem functionality, which might better influence governmental initiatives and restoration programmes.
Can we Establish Genomic Trends for Coevolving Mutualisms?
Fionn O'Sullivan, Senior Freshman, Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Although work has steadily begun in characterising the genetic basis of competitive multispecies interactions, such as predator-prey and host-parasite relationships, it is only in the past two decades that methods based on modern genome sequencing have been brought to bear on mutualistic interactions. This review draws together some of these disparate studies to roughly sketch out the diversity of genome level evolution seen in coevolving mutualisms, such as increased substitution rates, degradation in the genetic quality of mutualism due
to human actions, extreme genome reduction in insect endosymbionts and the horizontal gene transfer from organelles that forged eukaryotic life.
Some of the current problems confounding genetic research on mutualisms are mentioned and suggestions for further studies are put forth. By bringing together ecology, genetics, cellular biology and evolutionary theory, this type of under-explored multidisciplinary research has the potential to robustly contribute to our understanding of the function and evolution of highly integrated biological systems.
Although it is currently premature to define anything more than very general trends that are specific to coevolving mutualisms not also seen in other coevolving biological systems, the research is only beginning and has already contributed a wealth of fundamental explanations to some of biology’s core questions.