Scientists at the Oakland Zoo are taking drastic measures to prevent mass extinctions of the yellow-legged frog.
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A recently discovered fungus in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains have killed off over 80 percent of yellow-legged frog population. The frogs are part of a larger global amphibian crisis that has brought 32% of all the known species of frogs, salamanders and caecilians to the brink of extinction, in no small part due to this fungus. This loss of biodiversity threatens to have a wide ranging impact, from disrupting habitats to preventing the advancement of medical research.
Since treating native habitat is out, that means the frogs must be inoculated back at the lab at the Oakland Zoo. Fortunately, the researchers here have a plan to treat and release their yellow-legged patients back into the wild. And the solution starts by getting to the frogs early, before they’re technically frogs at all.
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Breaking the frog fungus code
“Wildlife managers have been using creative ways to inoculate frogs against Bd. For example, scientists have taken frogs from the Sierra Nevada into captivity, infected them with a less virulent strain of the fungus, and nursed them through the illness until they mount an immune response. Frogs treated this way no longer build up lethal infection loads.”
Research breakthrough in fight against chytrid fungus
“For frogs dying of the invasive chytridiomycosis disease, the leading cause of amphibian deaths worldwide, the genes responsible for protecting them may actually be leading to their demise, according to a new study.”
Climate crisis ages fish, amphibians and reptiles
“Human activity is changing climatic conditions at an unprecedented rate. The impact of these changes may be especially acute on ectotherms since they have limited capacities to use metabolic heat to maintain their body temperature.”
Species of all shapes and sizes, as well as the ecosystems where they exist, are on the brink of disappearing forever. But, we don’t have to let that happen. Seeker travels the world interviewing the researchers, engineers, scientists and adventurers who are dedicating their lives to saving, preserving and protecting the most vulnerable plants, animals, people and places on Earth.
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