Navigation Links
Amphibians as environmental omen disputed

New Haven, Conn. -- Amphibians, for years considered a leading indicator of environmental degradation, are not uniquely susceptible to pollution, according to a meta-analysis to be published in Ecology Letters.

After a review of over 28,000 toxicological tests, researchers from the University of South Dakota, Yale University and Washington State University are challenging the prevailing view that amphibians, with their permeable skin and aquatic environment, are particularly sensitive to environmental threats and, as such, are "canaries," or predictors of environmental decline.

"The very simple message is that for most of the classes of chemical compounds we looked at, frogs range from being moderately susceptible to being bullet-proof," said David Skelly, professor of ecology at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and a member of the research team. "There are lots of other kinds of environmental threats that have led to their decline, including habitat conversion, harvesting for food and the global spread of the Chytrid fungus, which is mowing down these species in its path."

The team, led by Jacob Kerby, an assistant professor at the University of South Dakota, based its analysis on information gleaned from the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Aquatic Toxicity Information Retrieval database, examining 1,279 species, among them segmented worms, fish, bivalves such as clams, insects and snails. Those species were exposed in water to various concentrations of 107 chemical agents, including inorganic chemicals, pesticides, heavy metals and phenols, a class of chemical compound.

"What our results suggest is that all animals are susceptible to chemical stressors and that amphibians are potentially good indicators," said Kerby. "There isn't any evidence that they're a uniquely leading indicator. We tried to be comprehensive in the types of chemicals and organisms that we examined."

In light of the findings, Skelly said, scientists should evaluate the absence, presence or abundance of amphibians in wild populations as "signals" of potential exposure to different chemicals in the environment. "If we have such an understanding for several species, we may be able to use their responses, collectively, as a means of narrowing potential causes of environmental degradation," he said.

The EPA, according to the paper, uses African Clawed Frogs as a proxy for biological diversity when determining a species' sensitivity to chemical exposures, even though that particular species does not occur naturally in North America. "Our knowledge of amphibians' sensitivity to particular chemicals or classes of chemicals has not been used to design assays for effects in nature," Skelly said.

The paper is titled "An examination of amphibian sensitivity to environmental contaminants: are amphibians poor canaries?"


Contact: David DeFusco
Yale University

Related biology news :

1. Ancient amphibians left full-body imprints
2. Amphibians respond behaviorally to impact of clear cutting
3. Road losses add up, taxing amphibians and other animals
4. Climate change hastens extinction in Madagascars reptiles and amphibians
5. New findings on immune system in amphibians
6. Study confirms amphibians ability to predict changes in biodiversity
7. Study finds environmental tests help predict hospital-acquired Legionnaires disease risk
8. Genes, Environment and Health Initiative invests in genetic studies, environmental monitoring
9. UCR engineers to develop new tool to measure how environmental exposures affect health
10. TAU scientists probe deep questions aboard EcoOceans environmental research ship
11. Environmental setting of human migrations in the circum-Pacific Region
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/29/2015)... , Oct. 29, 2015   MedNet Solutions ... the entire spectrum of clinical research, is pleased to ... High Tech Association (MHTA) as one of only three ... the "Software – Small and Growing" category. The Tekne Awards ... who have shown superior technology innovation and leadership. ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... 2015  Connected health pioneer, Joseph C. Kvedar ... technology-enabled health and wellness, and the business opportunities that ... The Internet of Healthy Things . Long before ... existed, Dr. Kvedar, vice president, Connected Health, Partners HealthCare, ... moving care from the hospital or doctor,s office into ...
(Date:10/27/2015)... October 27, 2015 Munich, ... Gaze Mapping technology (ASGM) automatically maps data from mobile ... Glasses , so that they can be quantitatively ... Munich, Germany , October 28-29, 2015. ... data from mobile eye tracking videos created with ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... Israel , Nov. 24, 2015  Tikcro Technologies Ltd. (OTCQB: TIKRF) ... on December 29, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. Israel ... Electra Tower, 98 Yigal Allon Street, 36 th Floor, ... of Eric Paneth and Izhak Tamir to the ... Rami Skaliter as external directors; , approval of an amendment to ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015  Twist Bioscience, ... that Emily Leproust, Ph.D., Twist Bioscience chief executive ... Healthcare Conference on December 1, 2015 at 3:10 ... in New York City. --> ... . Twist Bioscience is on Twitter. Sign ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... , ... InSphero AG, the leading supplier of easy-to-use solutions for production, culture, ... serve as Chief Operating Officer. , Having joined InSphero in November 2013 ... was promoted to Head of InSphero Diagnostics in 2014. There she has built ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Nov. 24, 2015 /CNW Telbec/ - ProMetic Life Sciences Inc. ... that Mr. Pierre Laurin , President and Chief Executive ... the upcoming Piper Jaffray 27 th Annual Healthcare Conference ... December 1-2, 2015. st , at 8.50am ... meetings throughout the day. The presentation will be available live ...
Breaking Biology Technology: