facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Amphibians as environmental omens disputed

Nov. 17, 2009 at 3:22 PM   |   Comments

VERMILLION, S.D., Nov. 17 (UPI) -- A coalition of scientists from three U.S. universities is questioning the theory that amphibians are a leading indicator of environmental degradation.

Researchers from Yale University, the University of South Dakota and Washington State University said they reviewed more than 28,000 toxicological tests before challenging the prevailing view that amphibians, with their permeable skin and aquatic environment, are particularly sensitive to environmental threats.

"The very simple message is that for most of the classes of chemical compounds we looked at, frogs range from being moderately susceptible to being bullet-proof," said Yale Professor David Skelly, a member of the research team. "There are lots of other kinds of environmental threats that have led to their decline, including habitat conversion, harvesting for food and the global spread of the Chytrid fungus, which is mowing down these species in its path."

The team, led by University of South Dakota Assistant Professor Jacob Kerby, said it based its analysis on information gleaned from the Environmental Protection Agency's Aquatic Toxicity Information Retrieval database, examining 1,279 species, among them segmented worms, fish, bivalves such as clams, insects and snails.

"What our results suggest is that all animals are susceptible to chemical stressors and that amphibians are potentially good indicators," said Kerby. But, he added, "There isn't any evidence that they're a uniquely leading indicator."

The research is to appear in the journal Ecology Letters.

© 2009 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Recommended UPI Stories
Most Popular
1
New scientific discoveries during search for missing Malaysia Airlines plane New scientific discoveries during search for missing Malaysia Airlines plane
2
NASA is sending a 3D printer to the International Space Station NASA is sending a 3D printer to the International Space Station
3
The NSA will now map out the entire Internet The NSA will now map out the entire Internet
4
Dogs are the favorite food of leopards in rural India Dogs are the favorite food of leopards in rural India
5
Electric supercar race ends in a serious crash Electric supercar race ends in a serious crash
Trending News
Video
x
Feedback