Whether salamanders transform into their terrestrial, adult form or retain their aquatic, juvenile form depends on the nature of the streambed where they develop. A study published today in the open access journal BMC Biology reveals that the Oklahoma salamander Eurycea tynerensis metamorphoses into a more terrestrial adult form in streambeds composed of fine, tightly packed gravel but retains its juvenile, or paedomorphic, form in streambeds made of large, loosely packed particles. This study highlights how a simple difference in habitat microstructure can have a major influence on patterns of development, morphology and evolution.
Ronald Bonett and Paul Chippindale from the University of Texas at Arlington, Texas, USA, analysed the type, size and degree of sorting of streambed sediments for 22 populations, 11 paedomorphic and 11 metamorphic, of the plethodontid salamander E. tynerensis living on the Ozark Plateau in south-central North America.
Bonett and Chippindales results show that paedomorphic salamanders prevailed in streambeds made of large well-sorted gravel, whereas metamorphic salamanders were found where streambeds consisted of small, unsorted sediments. The authors found a strong negative correlation between small streambed sediments and paedomorphosis.
Juliette Savin | EurekAlert!
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The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...
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Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich, the Technical University Eindhoven and the Charité Berlin have successfully implanted regenerative heart valves, designed with the aid of computer simulations, into sheep for the first time.
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A team of scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg investigated optically-induced superconductivity in the alkali-doped fulleride K3C60under high external pressures. This study allowed, on one hand, to uniquely assess the nature of the transient state as a superconducting phase. In addition, it unveiled the possibility to induce superconductivity in K3C60 at temperatures far above the -170 degrees Celsius hypothesized previously, and rather all the way to room temperature. The paper by Cantaluppi et al has been published in Nature Physics.
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