Roadside Science

Exploring science from the roadside and beyond


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The Mystery of the Missing Salmon-Trout Hybrids

Study author Matt Gage holds a male salmon in the lab before returning it to the river. (Photo credit: Matt Gage)

Study author Matt Gage holds a male salmon in his lab before returning it to the river. (Photo credit: Matt Gage)

When trying to pass genes on to future generations, mating with a different species is generally the wrong way to go. Most attempts to mate between species fail. Those that succeed often result in offspring that can’t reproduce themselves. (You’ve all met the mule).

Luckily, there are all sorts of barriers that keep animals from mating with the wrong species. Eastern and western skunks share the Great Plains, but can’t mate together because they breed during different seasons. Female green tree frogs avoid mating with a closely related neighboring species by listening for differences in their call frequencies. Two millipede species may try to mate together, but attempts always fail because the necessary body parts just don’t match up. Continue reading


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Hello Readers!

I wanted to check in to let you know that Roadside Science will be up and running again this upcoming week. Since my last post at the end of August, I completed my summer experiments, said goodbye to Maine, and lugged all of my hard-earned seeds and dried plants back to Virginia. Let the data analysis begin!

I plan to post to Roadside Science every other week again. This upcoming week will bring a post on salmon and trout and the obvious and not-so-obvious barriers that keep animals from mating with the wrong species.

In addition to my own posts, I’m hoping to publish some guest bloggers this fall. If you would like to write about a new development in science or your own experiences as a scientist, please contact me. I would love to hear from you!

Carolyn

Homeward bound

Virginia bound. September 2013.