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Climate change a likely culprit in coqui frog's altered calls, say UCLA biologists
Date:4/14/2014

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The scientists found that frogs at comparable altitudes are more than 10 percent smaller in length than they were 23 years earlier. Using data from four weather stations in Puerto Rico, the researchers also learned that the temperatures increased by almost 0.5 degrees Fahrenheit over that time. Although that amount of warming doesn't sound like much, it is meaningful over such a brief period of time. If it continues or worsens in coming decades, it could be very dangerous for the coqui, whose existence dates back more than 11,000 years, and perhaps much longer than that.

According to Narins, some 30 percent of the world's more than 6,300 species of frogs and toads are endangered for a variety of reasons including climate change, chemical contamination of the water supply, destruction of their habitats and exposure to deadly fungi. In addition to their own intrinsic value, many of the species are important because scientists can study them to discover new treatments for disease. That opportunity would be lost if the animals become extinct.

In addition, the changes affecting the coqui could have an adverse effect on Puerto Rico's food chain, because owls, snakes, land crabs and other animals dine on the animal.


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Contact: Stuart Wolpert
swolpert@support.ucla.edu
310-206-0511
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert  

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