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GW researcher reveals how amphibians crossed continents
Date:8/4/2014

on said. "But even more recently, within the last few million years, you have these chance events of long distance dispersals across the ocean, which can influence distribution patterns."

Dr. Pyron's next research question is whether there is any specific quality, such as tolerance to salt water, which allows some groups of amphibians to be better dispersers. He has also begun to conduct a similar analysis with lizards and snakes to see if the same distribution patterns hold up. And as new species are discovered, Dr. Pyron will continue to revise his model.

These findings not only provide evidence for the unlikely hypothesis of long-distance oceanic dispersal, but they also provide a model for explaining the distribution of other species and learning about the geographic diversity of different groups. For example, an endangered frog in South America unconnected to any other major lineages would need to be a high conservation priority.

"That's something we can only learn from a biogeographic analysis," Dr. Pyron said.


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Contact: Kurtis Hiatt
kkhiatt@gwu.edu
202-994-1849
George Washington University
Source:Eurekalert

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