What do toad toes show? Plenty, says ASU biologist

June 22, 2009

By hammersmith

[Source: Physorg.com] – The point of Sullivan’s work is to study interactions between two species of toads in central Arizona, and those toe clippings provide critical DNA samples. Sullivan is a professor of evolutionary biology and herpetology in Arizona State University’s New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences.

Specifically, Sullivan is examining cross-breeding, also known as hybridization, between the Arizona Toad and the Woodhouse’s Toad. His work provides evidence that human activity, such as dam construction, creates habitat changes that lead to hybridization between these two species. A variety of outcomes is possible following hybridization, but in some instances it can lead to the decline or extinction of one of the species.

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