September 27, 2019
Conservation of ecosystems and species is vital, especially as our environment changes in response to the climate crisis. In order to improve the success of conservation it is important to understand the species that are being protected, to ensure they are receiving the right interventions. So, what happens when the species you are trying to protect is actually three distinct species?
Researchers from the Zoological Society of London were using genomic tools to better understand the Chinese giant salamander. They sampled DNA from 41 salamanders, and in doing so discovered that the were not all the same species. The three species are so genetically different that the team were able to determine that the species had split form each other between 3.1. and 2.4 million years ago.
This new discovery will enable conservationists to better understand the needs of the three species. A better understanding of the differences between species will assist with the location of wild populations, and hopefully allow for the establishment of breeding programs for these giant amphibians.
Source: New Scientist
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