About these ads

Can amphibians bounce back from the brink?

dfgh

A live boreal toad from waters known to harbor the deadly chytrid fungus. bberwyn photo.

Research suggests some species can develop or acquire an immunity to deadly fungal pathogens

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Florida-based researchers say they may have some answers for the puzzling wave of amphibian deaths that’s been wiping out populations of some species. At least some frogs and snakes may be able to develop immunity to the deadly chytrid fungus that’s been implicated in the die-off, University of South Florida biologists said this week.

Their findings could be good news in general for biodiversity, as emerging fungal pathogens are seen as posing the greatest threat of any parastic pathogens, contributing to declines of  amphibians, bats, corals, bees and snakes. Continue reading

About these ads

Biodiversity: Natural micropredators key to controlling frog-killing chytrid pathogen

dfgh

Colorado’s boreal toads have been devastated by the chytrid pathogen, as well as habitat loss and water quality degradation. bberwyn photo.

Findings may help protect amphibians from deadly fungus

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Biologists continue to unravel the mysteries of the amphibian-killing chytrid pathogen, raising hopes that there may be a way to slow or stop the disease, which has wiped out populations of frogs worldwide.

Researchers have long wondered why the pathogen sometimes kills all the amphibians in one habitat, while apparently leaving other nearby populations unharmed. After studying mountain ponds in the Pyrenees, the scientists concluded that, in some regions, naturally occurring predators may control the pathogen.

This natural behavior will reduce the infection pressure on potential amphibian hosts and a goes a long way towards explaining the distribution of chytridiomycosis, at least in temporal climatic regions. Continue reading

10-year study shows low level of frog deformities

dfgh

A boreal toad in Breckenridge, Colorado. bberwyn photo.

Baseline data will help researchers zero in on hotspots

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Frogs and toads have been hit hard by pesticides and other pollutants, as well as the deadly chytrid fungus, but there is a little bit of good news. A 10-year study shows that the rate of deformed frogs may be lower than previously believed.

The findings suggest that the rate of abnormalities such as shortened or missing legs was less than 2 percent overall. But much higher rates were found in local “hotspots,” suggesting that where these problems occur they have local causes. The results were published Nov. 18 in the journal PLOS ONE. Continue reading

Amphibian-killing fungus disables immune response

dfgh

One of the last few boreal toads found at Cucumber Gulch in Breckenridge tested negative for the chytrid fungus.

New research may help inform conservation measures

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Biologists say they’re one step closer to understanding how, exactly, the chytrid fungus kills amphibians. The fungus, which has been linked with a global amphibian die-off, apparently releases a toxin that disables the amphibian immune response, Vanderbilt University investigators reported Oct. 18 in the journal Science.

Biologists have long wondered why amphibian immune systems aren’t able to clear the fungus, according to Dr.Louise Rollins-Smith, Ph.D., an associate professor of pathology, microbiology and immunology at Vanderbilt. Continue reading

Feds set target date for boreal toad listing decision

sdf

A boreal toad survey team member holds one of two adult toads found in Cucumber Gulch, in Breckenridge, Colorado, during the summer of 2005. Since then, no more boreal toads have been documented in the wetlands preserve. bberwyn photo.

Decline of once-common Colorado high-elevation toad a symptom of global amphibian decline

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — While remnant populations of boreal toads in Colorado appear to be relatively stable for now, federal biologists are still considering whether the amphibians need protection under the Endangered Species Act.

In the latest twist, conservation groups said they’ve reached an agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on a timeline to make a listing decision, giving the agency four years to decide whether boreal toads in the southern Rocky Mountains, Utah, southern Idaho and northeastern Nevada should be formally classified as endangered or threatened. Continue reading

Biodiversity: Frogs, toads and salamanders vanishing fast

New study tracks alarming rate of population decline, spurs call for immediate conservation action

sdfg

Boreal toads have all but disappeared from parts of the Rocky Mountains. Photo courtesy USFWS.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — The sudden decline of boreal toad populations in Colorado during the past couple of decades took state researchers by surprise, but it turns out that it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Globally, the loss of amphibian species has sent shock waves rippling through aquatic ecosystems and there’s no sign the decline is slowing down, according to U.S. Geological Survey scientists, who recently set out to measure amphibian losses in the United States. Continue reading

Endangered species listing sought for boreal toads

asdf

Do boreal toads need immediate protection under the Endangered Species Act? Photo courtesy National Park Service.

Conservation groups say they’ll go to court to force action 20 years after federal biologists first said the species qualifies for protection

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Rare boreal toads need Endangered Species Act protection sooner rather later, according to conservation activists who this week said they will sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over it’s failure to protect dwindling populations of the ampibian.

Although Colorado populations of boreal toads have also declined from historic levels, the state is still somewhat of a stronghold, thanks in part to a state-led restoration effort and other protective measures. Boreal toads exist in less than 1 percent of their historic breeding areas in the southern Rockies. Continue reading

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,452 other followers