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Press Release 06-008

Climate Change Drives Widespread Amphibian Extinctions

Warmer temperatures enhance growth conditions of fatal fungus

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Photo of the Panamanian golden frog, one of more than 100 disappearing species of harlequin frogs.

The Panamanian golden frog is one of more than 100 species of disappearing harlequin frogs.

Scientists estimate that about 67 percent of harlequin frogs have disappeared due to fungus outbreaks driven by global warming.

Credit: Forrest Brem, courtesy of NatureServe


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Illustration showing a frog in globe, increasing temp on thermometer, and spores from fungi.

Recent studies show the Earth's warming climate is contributing to the increase of chytrid disease, a fungus infection that is responsible for the extinction of many tropical frog species. The fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, infects tadpoles and eventually attacks the skin of adults and kills them. Scientsts know the spore stage can swim through water to infect other frogs, but there is still much to know about how the disease spreads, and if it can survive in other animals.

Credit: Nicolle Rager Fuller, National Science Foundation


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