Monday, June 15, 2015

Scientists are not sure if species hybridization, caused by climate change, is good or bad for biodiversity

The phenomena of increased species interbreeding, as a result of climate change impact on the habitat, became a subject of discussions and different points of view among scientists. 
The eastern coyote, for example, is a wolf-coyote hybrid that has expanded its range across the eastern US and Canada. Scientists have discovered that these super-sized coyotes are only about two-thirds coyote.
About 10 percent of their genes belong to domestic dogs and a quarter comes from wolves, with which they hybridized as they moved east north of the Great Lakes. Hybridization enabled eastern coyotes to adapt quickly to fill the niche left by wolves. 
There are also  other examples of hybridization - polar bears mate with grizzlies in the Canadian Arctic, stocked rainbow trout crosses with native cutthroat trout in the U.S. West, southern flying squirrels hybridize with northern flying squirrels, and so on… 
Some scientists consider hybridization as a major problem, even as “a nightmare of our time”, which may cause biodiversity losses. Others see interbreeding as driver of evolution, that threatens some species but enables others to survive and prosper. Who is right?...  Read more at  http://www.pri.org/