Considered to be one of the most sensitive indicators of climate change, it is now been threatened by the same element of the environment. The amphibian populations are diminishing dramatically by a fungal epidemic. It’s a pathogenic fungus; Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, which dehydrates its victims to death.
Global warming may be fuelling this endemic, wiping out the frog population across the globe and soon will catapult the amphibians to the endangered species list. This finding may mean that current estimates of future species extinctions due to climate change may need to be revised upwards.
The timing of frog extinctions in the tropical mountains of Central and South America strongly correlates the elevations in sea surface and air temperatures, according to Alan Pounds, an ecologist at the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve in Costa Rica, and his colleagues.
According to the study, shifts in temperature appear to strongly favor the growth of the killer fungus. Only in the 1980s and 1990s, the fungus has caused the extinctions of 74 of the harlequin frog (Atelopus) out of 110 species in Central and South America.
Via: New Scientist