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Reviving ghost alleles: Genetically admixed coyotes along the American Gulf Coast are critical for saving the endangered red wolf

Science Advances
10.1126/sciadv.abn7731
Article
Abstract

The last known red wolves were captured in southwestern Louisiana and eastern Texas in 1980 to establish a captive breeding population. Before their extirpation, gene flow with coyotes resulted in the persistence of endangered red wolf genetic variation in local coyote populations. We assessed genomic ancestry and morphology of coyotes in southwestern Louisiana. We detected that 38 to 62% of the coyote genomes contained red wolf ancestry acquired in the past 30 years and have an admixture profile similar to that of the canids captured before the extirpation of red wolves. We further documented a positive correlation between ancestry and weight. Our findings highlight the importance of hybrids and admixed genomes as a reservoir of endangered species ancestry for innovative conservation efforts. Together, this work presents an unprecedented system that conservation can leverage to enrich the recovery program of an endangered species.

science

How neurons really work is being elucidated

The Economist: Science
Jun 29, 2022
Article
science

Migration and transformation of coastal wetlands in response to rising seas

Science Advances
Jun 29, 2022
10.1126/sciadv.abo5174
Article
Abstract

Coastal wetlands are not only among the world’s most valued ecosystems but also among the most threatened by high greenhouse gas emissions that lead to accelerated sea level rise. There is intense debate regarding the extent to which landward migration of wetlands might compensate for seaward wetland losses. By integrating data from 166 estuaries across the conterminous United States, we show that landward migration of coastal wetlands will transform coastlines but not counter seaward losses. Two thirds of potential migration is expected to occur at the expense of coastal freshwater wetlands, while the remaining one third is expected to occur at the expense of valuable uplands, including croplands, forests, pastures, and grasslands. Our analyses underscore the need to better prepare for coastal transformations and net wetland loss due to rising seas.