Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Tropical Frog Shouts Climate Change from the Mountaintops

27.10.2010
Scientists studying disease and climate change as part of a special multidisciplinary team at Cornell University are heading to the mountains of Puerto Rico – hoping to learn what a struggling frog species can tell us about the danger changing weather patterns present to ecosystems around the globe.

The frog species, known as the mountain coqui to the hikers they serenade at night and Eleutherodactylus to researchers, has for decades battled a lethal fungus to a standstill, says Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Professor Kelly Zamudio.

The coqui populations endure the drier winter months when stress makes them vulnerable to the imported fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, or Bd, then rebound when the wet season returns to their tropical forest home.

But now, climate change may be tipping the balance in this biological standoff.

Zamudio, whose lab is looking into climate change and disease with the support of the Academic Venture Fund administered by the Cornell Center for a Sustainable Future, has teamed with graduate student researcher Ana Longo. During her master’s degree work at the University of Puerto Rico, Longo followed how climate change altered weather patterns in the Caribbean.

She found that periods of drought during the winter months from December through April have grown longer, with rainless spans once rarely longer than three days now stretching up to nine or 10 days. That puts the coqui under added stress, and stressed frogs are less likely to survive when Bd comes calling. To make matters worse, the frogs sometimes retreat at “clumping sites” to ride out the droughts, helping spread the fungus among weakened populations.

“It’s like a train wreck,” says Zamudio, who noted that Bd is responsible for almost half of the 190-plus frog species extinctions observed in the past half century.

In the next phase of the work through Zamudio’s lab, Longo will return to Puerto Rico in January 2011 examine whether climate change is undermining one technique the frogs use to battle the fungal infections. Called “behavioral fever,” the ectothermic, or cold-blooded, frogs use their environment to elevate body temperature and battle disease. Now, it seems that longer and less predictable winters driven by climate change may be stripping the frogs of this defensive tool as well. Zamudio and Longo said their goal is to understand this two-pronged threat to the coqui in the mountains of Puerto Rico, because other tropical frog species throughout Central and South America are showing the same infection patterns.

“If we lose these frogs, we lose a link in the food chain,” Zamudio says, “and that has community consequences for entire ecosystems.”

The Center for a Sustainable Future’s Academic Venture Fund has awarded more than $2 million to Cornell researchers since 2008 to promote multidisciplinary research into real-world issues of sustainability. The center was created in 2007 to apply a multidisciplinary approach to problems related to energy, the environment and economic development. Its faculty fellows include 220 researchers from 10 Cornell colleges or schools and 55 academic departments.

Redactores: Por favor dale nota que Ana Longo habla español con fluidez y puede ser lista para una entrevista. Para arreglar una entrevista con Longo, llame por favor a John Carberry del Cornell oficina de prensa en (607) 255-6074 o correo electrónico en jjc338@cornell.edu

John Carberry | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.cornell.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht International network connects experimental research in European waters
21.03.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)

nachricht World Water Day 2017: It doesn’t Always Have to Be Drinking Water – Using Wastewater as a Resource
17.03.2017 | ISOE - Institut für sozial-ökologische Forschung

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: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>