Global Amphibian Declines
|Something mysterious is happening to the world's amphibians--their
numbers are declining!! During the past number of decades, scientists have
become concerned about the alarming number of reports of amphibian populations
declining or vanishing entirely. This was often a result of the direct
impact of human activities in that particular area.
Then, in the mid-eighties something new happened in the mystery--scientists became especially troubled because populations declines were documented in wilderness areas, with little or no human disturbance. Both the Gastric Brooding Frog of Australia (in photograph to the left) and the Golden Toad of Costa Rica have disappeared from relatively untouched, or pristine, places. The Gastric Brooding frog had a unique characteristic of swallowing the fertilized eggs and allowing them to develop in its stomach into froglets. Somehow the adult frog was capable of switching off its gastric juices, preventing the eggs from being destroyed by the juices of the stomach. Pictured here is a froglet emerging from an adult frog. (Photograph from FROGLAND web site.)
What Scientists are saying about Global Amphibian Population Declines
Research into the cause or causes of Global Amphibian Population Declines is now a very high priority for scientists all over the world. Suggested causes include:
However, most scientists assume that frog declines can somehow be related to humans and their increasing demands on the environment.
Read recent information on the world's disappearing amphibians from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP).
Sehoya Harris is a conservation biologist who has studied frogs as well as coyotes and red wolves. For her frog studies she has spent three years in the rain forests of Ecuador in South America. In 1997 she attended the third World Congress of Herpetology and discussed the results of A Thousand Friends of Frogs and the involvement of students and citizens with the other scientists. Click here for her report.
To get more information on the global situation, a group of scientists formed the Declining Amphibian Populations Task Force. Visit the web site for more information on this group and their newsletter FROGLOG.
What Scientists are saying about Amphibian Population Declines in Minnesota
Recently at the 1998 MidWest Declining Amphibians Conference, Minnesota scientist, Dr. David Hoppe from the University of Minnesota- Morris made a surprising and distressing statement about frog populations in some areas of Minnesota. He visited 14 sites which another herpetologist, David Merrell, has collected frogs from during the 1950's. In 1997, Dr. Hoppe found frogs only in five of the sites!!!
What is Being Done About
Click on the following organizations or news articles to find out what is being done to protect amphibian populations:
Choose from these other areas: