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 Bioinvasion on the rise
15.02.2017 | Universität Konstanz

nachricht Litter Levels in the Depths of the Arctic are On the Rise
10.02.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

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: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>