Maya Shaulsky (an undergraduate in the lab that I have been mentoring for the summer through the NSF REU Site program) finished up her research last week and presented a poster on it at UH. Maya is broadly interested in hybridization, so she’s been working on a project aimed at elucidating the genetic composition of several leopard frog populations in California that are thought to be potential hybrids between the native lowland leopard frog (Rana yavapaiensis) and the introduced Rio Grande leopard frog (Rana berlandieri). Lowland leopard frogs are a highly endangered species that has not been documented to exist in California since 1965. Historically, they only occurred in the very far southeastern portion of the state, however, the two species are also very hard to tell apart based on morphology. Recently, several populations within their historical range have been reported to have individuals that look intermediate between the two species, so we wanted to investigate this issue using genetics. Maya impressively mastered her wetlab skills this summer, sequencing several different genes on a large panel of samples for the project. She also rapidly picked up skills analyzing her genetic data using phyologenetic and population genetic approaches. She finished up by putting together a great poster on the topic. Congrats to her on a successful summer and a job well done!