Global Warming-Induced Hybridization in Flying Squirrels
Garroway, C.J., Bowman, J., Cascaden, T.J., Holloway, G.L., Mahan, C.G., Malcolm, J.R., Steele, M.A., Turner, G. and Wilson, P.J. 2010. Climate change induced hybridization in flying squirrels. Global Change Biology 16: 113-121.
It had already been determined by Bowman et al. (2005) that G. volens had expanded its range from the south beginning in the mid-1990s in concert with a series of warm winters; and now the nine Canadian and U.S. researchers' new findings indicate that "the expansion of G. volans north into the G. sabrinus range in Ontario has resulted in the formation of a new hybrid zone." In addition, their analyses suggest that "the hybridization was recent, coinciding with the recent increase in sympatry." Thus, they go on to state that -- to their knowledge -- "this is the first report of hybrid zone formation following a range expansion induced by contemporary climate change," which unique findings represent yet another way in which living organisms can both physically (by shifting their ranges) and genetically (by hybridization) successfully confront the challenges that may be presented to them by global warming.
Bowman, J., Holloway, G.L., Malcolm, J.R., Middel, K.R. and Wilson, P.J. 2005. Northern range boundary dynamics of southern flying squirrels: evidence of an energetic bottleneck. Canadian Journal of Zoology 83: 1486-1494.