Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Thriving Hybrid Salamanders Contradict Common Wisdom

28.09.2007
A new UC Davis study not only has important findings for the future of California tiger salamanders, but also contradicts prevailing scientific thought about what happens when animal species interbreed.

The study, by former UC Davis doctoral student Benjamin Fitzpatrick (now on the faculty of University of Tennessee, Knoxville) and professor Bradley Shaffer, was published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences' online edition.

The salamander experts studied the survival rates and genetic makeup of three types of salamanders: native California tiger salamanders (Ambystoma californiense), which are protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act; barred tiger salamanders that were introduced in California from Texas in the 1950s (Ambystoma tigrinum mavortium); and the hybrid offspring born when the two species mated.

They found that more of the hybrid young survived in the wild than did young of the native or the introduced species -- quite a surprise, since animal hybrids are usually less fit than their parents ("hybrid vigor" is largely limited to plant crosses).

That raises difficult questions for managing endangered native salamander populations, Shaffer said. Some conservationists might say that hybrids are an acceptable change, since they are favored by natural selection, and "improve" the original species. Others might consider hybrids to be genetically impure and regard them as threats to the native salamanders, their competitors and their prey.

Such questions will arise more frequently, Shaffer said, as humans both create new opportunities for hybridization with introduced species, and improve the genetic analyses that detect them.

The study, titled "Hybrid vigor between native and introduced salamanders raises new challenges for conservation," was funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Science Foundation (NSF), U.S. Department of Agriculture, CALFED Bay-Delta Program, and UC Davis Agricultural Experiment Station.

UC Davis graduate programs in ecology and evolutionary biology are among the best in the nation, and were ranked first in 2007 by U.S. News & World Report.

Brad Shaffer | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucdavis.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Listening in: Acoustic monitoring devices detect illegal hunting and logging
14.12.2017 | Gesellschaft für Ökologie e.V.

nachricht How fires are changing the tundra’s face
12.12.2017 | Gesellschaft für Ökologie e.V.

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Engineers program tiny robots to move, think like insects

15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

One in 5 materials chemistry papers may be wrong, study suggests

15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists

15.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>