La Réunion, Indian Ocean. Photo courtesy of: © Isabelle Duflo
In what is probably the farthest single dispersal event ever recorded (some 18,000 kilometres, almost the farthest apart that any two points on land can be ) researchers have shown using genetic analysis that an acacia tree endemic to Réunion Island in the Indian Ocean is directly descended from a common Hawaiian tree known as the Koa.
The researchers propose in a study published this week, that a sea bird brought a seed from Hawaii to Réunion in its stomach or stuck to its feet in a one-off event some 1.4 million years ago.
The startling finding is the latest in a string of improbable long-distance dispersal events that have been uncovered in the past 15 years or so…