Temple grad student proves that salamander species is solar-powered

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A Temple researcher has proved that a salamander may get energy the way plants do it — from the sun. Research by Temple graduate student Erin Graham and colleagues suggests that photosynthetic algae in the embryos of the spotted salamander are acting as internal power stations, generating fuel for the animals. The algae do not seem to be essential to the embryos, but they are very helpful. The survival rate of embryos deprived of algae "is much lower and their growth is slowed," says Graham. Now that one vertebrate has been shown to use photosynthesis, Graham says there could well be others. "Anything that lays eggs in water would be a good candidate," she says.