The threatened California tiger salamander can be difficult to find, and researchers have turned to using sequencing and geographical mapping to locate their habitats, reports Scientific American's Katherine Harmon. Brad Shaffer from the University of California, Davis, and his colleagues collected salamander DNA from the temporary pools the salamanders use as breeding grounds, and found that about 10 to 20 percent of larvae had parents from a different pool. And so, Shaffer's team used geographic information system data, combined with the genetic information, to determine where the salamanders came from. "Their findings surprised Shaffer — grasslands didn't end up being the most popular place for the salamanders," Harmon writes. "Instead, the chaparral proved to be the best habitat for the species, being about twice as appealing as the grassland."
Jun 24, 2011