Navigation Links
Road runoff spurring spotted salamander evolution

Spotted salamanders exposed to contaminated roadside ponds are adapting to their toxic environments, according to a Yale paper in Scientific Reports. This study provides the first documented evidence that a vertebrate has adapted to the negative effects of roads apparently by evolving rapidly.

Salamanders breeding in roadside ponds are exposed to a host of contaminants from road runoff. Chief among these is sodium chloride from road salt, which reaches average concentrations of 70 times higher in roadside ponds compared to woodland ponds located several hundred feet from the road.

"While the evolutionary consequences of roads are largely unknown, we know they are strong agents of natural selection and set the stage for fast evolution," said Steven Brady, the study's author and a doctoral student at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. "These animals are growing up in harsh environments where they face a cocktail of contaminants, and it appears that they are evolving to cope with them."

Brady found that salamanders in roadside ponds have higher mortality, grow at a slower rate and are more than likely to develop L-shaped spines and other disfigurements. In roadside ponds, only 56 percent of salamander eggs survive the first 10 weeks of development, whereas 87 percent survive in the woodland ponds. As roadside ponds become more toxic, the surviving salamanders may develop a genetic advantage over their counterparts living in woodland ponds.

The salamanders that survive year after year in the roadside ponds appear to have adapted to the harsh conditions. "The animals that come from roadside ponds actually do bettersubstantially betterthan the ones that originate from woodland ponds when they're raised together," Brady said.

That animals adapt to human activities is not altogether new. For example, fish have begun to mature at smaller sizes in response to commercial fishing. But whereas humans directly utilize fish for consumption, salamanders are just bystanders to human activities. This suggests that the majority of species, which are not specifically targeted for human use, may be experiencing profound evolutionary consequences. And it appears that even species not being driven to extinctionand seldom thought aboutare changing.

"This adaptation is certainly encouraging for conservation," said Brady. "But our modern footprint is fundamentally changing species in ways we don't understand and, critically, we don't know if these adaptive responses will keep pace with environmental change."

Contact: David DeFusco
Yale University

Related biology news :

1. Manure runoff depends on soil texture
2. Plant buffers can slow runoff of veterinary antibiotics
3. Pelletized manure reduces toxic runoff
4. Arsenic in field runoff linked to poultry litter
5. Super socks help stem pollution runoff
6. Compost filter socks improve runoff from croplands
7. Tracking phosphorus runoff from livestock manure
8. Cover crops reduce erosion, runoff
9. Storm runoff and sewage treatment outflow contaminated with household pesticides
10. Canna can: Ornamental eliminates pollutants from stormwater runoff
11. UNH: Pavement sealcoat a source of toxins in stormwater runoff
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/14/2017)... -- IBM (NYSE: IBM ) is introducing several innovative partner ... developing collaboration between startups and global businesses, taking place in ... event, nine startups will showcase the solutions they have built ... France is one of ... 30 percent increase in the number of startups created between ...
(Date:4/24/2017)... WASHINGTON , April 24, 2017 ... counsel and partner with  Identity Strategy Partners, LLP ... "With or without President Trump,s March 6, ... Foreign Terrorist Entry , refugee vetting can be instilled ... refugee resettlement. (Right now, all refugee applications are ...
(Date:4/13/2017)... April 13, 2017 According to a new market ... Identity Analytics, Identity Administration, and Authorization), Service, Authentication Type, Deployment Mode, Vertical, ... Market is expected to grow from USD 14.30 Billion in 2017 to ... of 17.3%. ... MarketsandMarkets Logo ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... For the second ... a US2020 STEM Mentoring Award. Representatives of the FirstHand program travelled to Washington, ... from US2020. , US2020’s mission is to change the trajectory of STEM education ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... 10, 2017 , ... The Pittcon Program Committee is pleased ... scientists who have made outstanding contributions to analytical chemistry and applied spectroscopy. Each ... leading conference and exposition for laboratory science, which will be held February 26-March ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... ... October 09, 2017 , ... ... 2017, in the medical journal, Epilepsia, Brain Sentinel’s SPEAC® System which uses ... EEG, in detecting generalized tonic-clonic seizures (GTCS) using surface electromyography (sEMG). The ...
(Date:10/6/2017)... Washington, D.C. (PRWEB) , ... October 06, 2017 ... ... Cure) will host a lunch discussion and webinar on INSIGhT, the first-ever adaptive ... INSIGhT Principal Investigator, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. The event is free and open to ...
Breaking Biology Technology: