Saturday, November 26, 2011

Triple threat paints grim future for frogs

Frogs, salamanders and other amphibians may eventually have no haven left on the globe because of a triple threat of worsening scourges, a new study predicts.

Scientists have long known that amphibians are under attack from a killer fungus, climate change and shrinking habitat. In the study appearing online Wednesday in the journal Nature, computer models project that in about 70 years those three threats will spread, leaving no part of the world immune from one of the problems.

Frogs seem to have the most worrisome outlook, said study lead author Christian Hof of the Biodiversity and Climate Research Center in Frankfurt.

Meanwhile, federal scientists in the United States are meeting in St. Louis, Missouri, this week to monitor the situation and figure out how to reverse it.

Several important U.S. amphibian species — boreal toads in the U.S. Rocky Mountains and the mountain yellow legged frog in the Sierra Nevada Mountains — are shrinking in numbers, said zoologist Steve Corn, who is part of the U.S. Geological Survey's Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative. The western part of the United States has the problem worse than does the East. more