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Brad Shaffer in The Scientist: Severe Drought, Heat Upended Research This Summer

Recent heatwaves and drought have taken a serious toll on fieldwork, scientists say. Brad Shaffer, an ecologist and evolutionary biologist at UCLA, had an extraordinarily difficult time researching the feeding and mating behaviors of native California tiger salamanders and the invasive barred tiger salamander. Native species are adapted to and dependent on natural ponds for their annual migration to mate and reproduce, which historically have filled up in the winter and dried out in the summer. However, the invasive species utilizes artificial ponds ranchers have dug and filled for their animals, which tend to be deeper and available year-round. The invasive species did not adapt to reproducing in local ponds.