Tag: Extinction event

Climate: Oceans facing catastrophic extinction

On the brink?

The world’s oceans are in big trouble. Photo by Bob Berwyn.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Global warming is causing changes that are putting the world’s oceans on the brink of a major catastrophic extinction event, according to an international team of scientists from Australia, the US, Canada, Germany, Panama, Norway and the UK.

Three of the five largest extinctions of the past 500 million years were associated with global warming and acidification of the oceans — trends which also apply today, the scientists wrote in the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution.

Other extinctions were driven by loss of oxygen from seawaters, pollution, habitat loss and pressure from human hunting and fishing – or a combination of these factors. Continue reading “Climate: Oceans facing catastrophic extinction”


Biodiversity: Amphibians ‘not evolving fast enough’

New study finds wide array of causes for sudden extinction wave

The Panamanian golden frog (Atelopus zeteki) is a critically endangered toad which is endemic to Panama. PHOTO BY BRIAN GRATWICKE VIA THE CREATIVE COMMONS.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — The alarming global decline of amphibian species is probably caused by a number of factors rather than any single cause. Natural factors include competition, predation, reproduction and disease.

Man-made factors include habitat destruction, environmental contamination, invasive species and climate change, according to an international team of researchers who recently published findings from a comprehensive amphibian study in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.

“An enormous rate of change has occurred in the last 100 years, and amphibians are not evolving fast enough to keep up with it,” said Andrew Blaustein, a professor of zoology at Oregon State University and an international leader in the study of amphibian declines. “We’re now realizing that it’s not just one thing, it’s a whole range of things. With a permeable skin and exposure to both aquatic and terrestrial problems, amphibians face a double whammy,” he said. “Because of this, mammals, fish and birds have not experienced population impacts as severely as amphibians – at least, not yet.” Continue reading “Biodiversity: Amphibians ‘not evolving fast enough’”