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!
Dune ecosystem modelling
26.06.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
Understanding animal social networks can aid wildlife conservation
23.06.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
26.06.2017 | Life Sciences
26.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
26.06.2017 | Information Technology