Complex mystery of amphibian decline calls for a new kind of science

Central American forests that used to throb with the grunts, clicks, trills and chirrs of frogs have fallen eerily silent. Similar change is happening in North America and Western Australia. It is quietly alarming, and no one can explain the cause.

A group of scientists headed by James Collins, professor and chair of the Department of Biology at Arizona State University, has been awarded a grant of nearly $3 million from the National Science Foundation to study "Host-Pathogen Biology and the Global Decline of Amphibians."

Funded by the NSF's Integrated Research Challenges in Environmental Biology program, the project involves a team of 24 scientists from such different areas as evolutionary ecology, immunology, virology and mycology, and further includes specialists in statistical and molecular genetics, amphibian pathology, population biology, population ecology, ecological genetics and veterinary epidemiology, among many others.

The project is clearly not science-as-usual. Why is this research project so large? How tough can it be to find something that is wiping out frogs and salamanders on a global scale?

In familiar film and television scenarios, disaster happens because humanity has done something simple and stupid -- perhaps exploded an atomic bomb or dumped a toxic chemical. The plot is typically resolved by a sleuthing scientist who finds the cause, eliminates it, kills the giant carnivorous worms and generally cleans up the whole mess with something like baking soda -- a simple cause-and-effect problem that can be solved with a simple solution.

Real-life ecological disasters can be as dramatic as science fiction, but understanding what is causing them -- not to mention reversing the damage -- is no simple matter for contemporary science.

"Amphibian decline" is a good example. Beginning in 1989, biologists began to notice a dramatic drop in amphibian populations, in many cases to the point of extinction, in broad geographic

Contact: James Hathaway
Arizona State University

Page: 1 2 3 4

Related biology news :

1. Complex cells likely arose from combination of bacterial and extreme-microbe genomes
2. UC Riverside to play active role in Institute for Complex Adaptive Matter
3. Complex gene-swapping spawns a form of lymphoma
4. Complex carbohydrate found to regulate plant growth
5. The Geometry of Ecological Interactions: Simplifying Spatial Complexity
6. Magnetic Fluids More Complex Than Previously Thought
7. Environmental Testimony: Taiwan Mega-Complex Threatens Endangered Spoonbills And Efforts To Cut Greenhouse Gases, UD Prof Says
8. Researcher Gains 30,000% Saving Using "Bargain Basement" Chemistry To Create Complex Industrially Useful Molecules
9. Second Gene Responsible For Tuberous Sclerosis Complex Identified
10. New fossil sheds light on old mystery
11. LICR/UCSD team solves mystery of centromeres

Post Your Comments:

(Date:5/24/2016)... May 24, 2016 Ampronix facilitates superior patient care by providing unparalleled technology ... LCD display is the latest premium product recently added to the range of products ... ... ... 3d Imaging- LCD Medical Display- Ampronix News ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... , May 3, 2016  Neurotechnology, a provider ... MegaMatcher Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) , ... multi-biometric projects. MegaMatcher ABIS can process multiple complex ... any combination of fingerprint, face or iris biometrics. ... SDK and MegaMatcher Accelerator , which ...
(Date:4/19/2016)... The new GEZE SecuLogic access ... "all-in-one" system solution for all door components. It can ... door interface with integration authorization management system, and thus ... minimal dimensions of the access control and the optimum ... offer considerable freedom of design with regard to the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... Researchers at ... most commonly-identified miRNAs in people with peritoneal or pleural mesothelioma. Their findings are the ... read it now. , Diagnostic biomarkers are signposts in the blood, lung fluid ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - FACIT has ... Ontario biotechnology company, Propellon Therapeutics Inc. ... and commercialization of a portfolio of first-in-class WDR5 ... targets such as WDR5 represent an exciting class ... in precision medicine for cancer patients. Substantial advances ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016  The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) is pleased to announce ... cures for prostate cancer. Members of the Class of 2016 were selected from ... Read More About the Class of 2016 PCF Young Investigators ... ... ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... STACS DNA Inc., the sample tracking software company, ... Crime Laboratory, has joined STACS DNA as a Field Application Specialist. , “I ... President and COO of STACS DNA. “In further expanding our capacity as a scientific ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: