I thought I would share this little design I made as a favour for my supervisor. She was doing a presentation on the limitations of relying on model species research and wanted to draw attention to the role species like Drosophila have played in testing many different biological paradigms.
Model species are great but we shouldn’t forget that every species is unique with their own separate ecolutionary history. How many times have you had a reviewer comment on your research saying that it is a bit ‘too taxon specific’ and may be better suited to a ‘more specialised journal’. Why doesn’t this same criticism apply to every study out there on blue tits? Or zebra fish? Or honey bees? OR HUMANS????
The more we use model species to reinforce overarching biological principles, the more frustrated we seem to get when other species don’t play by the rules. Rather than trying to search for any more grand unified theories the future of biology likely lies in finding a way to encapsulate the sheer diversity of interactions, adaptations and physiological processes that exist in our world. If you would like to hear more about A. Prof. Herberstein’s war on model species (and her confusingly evil plans to make spiders the next big model organisms) check out her research website here!
Until next time, think about using your next grant application to study millipedes. Don’t know anything about millipedes? Perfect! Most people don’t, all the more reason to study them!