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Global warming drives epidemic disease wiping out amphibian populations

There is absolutely a linkage between global warming and this disease--they go hand-in-hand," says Sanchez-Azofeifa, who analyzed satellite images to extract deforestation rates and forest cover extent that were later used on the modeling component of the study. "With this increase in temperature, the bacteria has been able to increase its niche and wipe out large populations of amphibians in the Americas.

"Once a species is gone we can't do much to bring it back--what we need to do is worry about what will be happening in the future," says Sanchez-Azofeifa. "How many species in tropical environments are going to disappear before people realize how serious climate change is? This is not esoteric thing that is only important to the scientific community--it affects all of us. We are showing that there are real consequences to inaction."

There is much concern over the future of amphibians. In 2004, the Global Amphibian Assessment, found that nearly one-third of the world's 6,000 or so species of frogs, toads, and salamanders are threatened with extinction--a figure far greater than any other group of animals.


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Contact: Phoebe Dey
phoebe.dey@ualberta.ca
780-492-0437
University of Alberta
11-Jan-2006


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