Amphibians, the main survivors of the mass extinction event that happened in the past, are sending a clear signal that something is amiss, because their extinction rate has increased to a level Unmatched, according to an article published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Humans are exacerbating two decisive natural hazards - fatal changes in disease and plague spread from species to other species.
The authors questioned whether the Earth was experiencing a sixth mass extinction and identified amphibians, in the case of terrestrial life, providing answers. words clearly. Co-author Vance T. Vredenburg, professor of biology at San Francisco State University, and David B. Wake, who is in charge of reptile collection at the Museum of Soft Body Zoology at the University of California, Berkeley, wrote on the issue date August 12 on PNAS: 'The general message from that amphibian is that we have little time to stop a potential mass extinction'.
Amphibians are one of the oldest creatures on earth, surviving four mass extinctions. The current extinction level of amphibians is at an alarming level, according to biologists. Vredenburg said: 'The ancient creature that has survived previous widespread extinctions is telling us that something is wrong. For people we can still be fine, but amphibians are in a state of stress. The question is whether we will take timely actions before it's too late. '
Many factors have a profound effect on the global amphibian community , in which a new contagious disease, hytridiomycosis, is thought to be the direct cause of the extinction of more than 200 species. It brings an unprecedented risk to biodiversity. This is a disease from an unknown source, the first fungus to infect vertebrates.
Understanding the ecology of chytridiomycosis not only helps amphibians, but has benefits for human health. Scientists seek to determine how the source is transmitted from one species to another and develop the necessary measures to prevent and control the disease.
The southern mountain yellow frogs (Rana musoca) die for chytrid mushrooms.60 Lake Basin, Kings Canyon National Park, California, USA (Photo; V. Vredenburg (August 2006), San Francisco State University).
Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog is an example of a species that is in danger of extinction. In 2001, chytridiomycosis was discovered in the mountains of the Sierra Nevada, and then the authors recorded data on mass deaths and a rapid decline in the number of animals because of the disease. The fungus causes the toxin to be strong, and its fatal mechanism is still unknown.
Vredenburg said: 'It is very important to determine what is causing the frogs' deaths. This plague is an example of a widespread and widespread pathogen. If we can understand the spread mechanism, we can save frogs as well as ourselves. '
David B. Wake, former director of the Museum of Vertebrate Animals (MVZ) for 27 years, is currently the curator of the reptile and professor at the University of California, Berkeley. MVZ is a center for studying and educating organisms about amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. Founded in 1908, the museum's mission is to record data and to increase understanding of the diversity of terrestrial vertebrates, especially in the Northeastern United States.
Vance T. Vredenburg is a professor at San Francisco State University. His research focuses on ecology, evolution, and conservation of amphibian animals, while combining community, population and ecological behavior to investigate the impact of diseases. spread, or the loss of habitat for threatened amphibians. He is the co-founder of AmphibiaWeb.org (https://amphibiaweb.org), an online bioinformatics project promoting science and conservation of amphibians.