Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Global warming drives epidemic disease wiping out amphibian populations

12.01.2006


A University of Alberta scientist is part of a research team offering the first evidence that global warming is behind an infectious disease epidemic wiping out entire frog populations and forcing many species to extinction. The work is published in the journal "Nature."



"When we talk about climate change, there is so much focus on industrialized countries, but people are ignoring other ecosystems that may be extremely sensitive to climate change, such as dry and cloud forest environments," says Dr. Arturo Sanchez-Azofeifa, from the U of A’s Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences and one of the paper’s co-authors. "Its impact goes beyond what we can observe here in Canada and the north, and the situation is obviously very grave."

Sanchez-Azofeifa is part of an international research team led by Dr. Alan Pounds from Costa Rica’s Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve and Tropical Science Centre. Accounting for such things as deforestation, the scientists investigated how the Monteverde harlequin frog vanished along with the golden toad 17 years ago from the mountains of Costa Rica. About 67 per cent of the 110 species of the particular frog--which only existed in the American tropics--have met the same fate due, say the researchers, to a pathogenic fungus called Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.


Between 1975 and 2000, air temperature for the tropics increased by 0.18 degrees per decade, triple the average rate of warming for the 20th Century. That warming, the paper argues, has reduced mist frequency at Monteverde by raising the heights of cloud formation which may promote the survival, growth and reproduction of the fungi.

After analyzing the relationship and timing between the species’ losses and the changes in surface and air temperatures, the scientists conclude "with high confidence," that large-scale warming is a key factor in the disappearances of many of the amphibian populations present in cloud forest environments.

"There is absolutely a linkage between global warming and this disease--they go hand-in-hand," says Sanchez-Azofeifa, who analyzed satellite images to extract deforestation rates and forest cover extent that were later used on the modeling component of the study. "With this increase in temperature, the bacteria has been able to increase its niche and wipe out large populations of amphibians in the Americas.

"Once a species is gone we can’t do much to bring it back--what we need to do is worry about what will be happening in the future," says Sanchez-Azofeifa. "How many species in tropical environments are going to disappear before people realize how serious climate change is? This is not esoteric thing that is only important to the scientific community--it affects all of us. We are showing that there are real consequences to inaction."

There is much concern over the future of amphibians. In 2004, the Global Amphibian Assessment, found that nearly one-third of the world’s 6,000 or so species of frogs, toads, and salamanders are threatened with extinction--a figure far greater than any other group of animals.

Phoebe Dey | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ualberta.ca

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Safeguarding sustainability through forest certification mapping
27.06.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht Dune ecosystem modelling
26.06.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Physicists Design Ultrafocused Pulses

Physicists working with researcher Oriol Romero-Isart devised a new simple scheme to theoretically generate arbitrarily short and focused electromagnetic fields. This new tool could be used for precise sensing and in microscopy.

Microwaves, heat radiation, light and X-radiation are examples for electromagnetic waves. Many applications require to focus the electromagnetic fields to...

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Programming cells with computer-like logic

27.07.2017 | Life Sciences

Identified the component that allows a lethal bacteria to spread resistance to antibiotics

27.07.2017 | Life Sciences

Malaria Already Endemic in the Mediterranean by the Roman Period

27.07.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>