Navigation Links
Sunbathing tree frogs' future under a cloud
Date:11/19/2007

Animal conservationists in Manchester are turning to physics to investigate whether global warming is responsible for killing sun-loving South American tree frogs.

In a unique collaborative project, researchers in The Photon Science Institute (PSI) at The University of Manchester have joined forces with The Manchester Museum, which boasts an amazing collection of colourful tree frogs.

Physicist Dr Mark Dickinson, working with Andrew Gray, Curator of Herpetology at the museum, and Dr Richard Preziosi from The Faculty of Life Sciences, has started using a technique called Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) to investigate the properties of the tree frogs skin.

This non-invasive technique, which does not cause harm or distress to the frogs, allows images to be obtained from within tissue and the Manchester team believe this innovative application of OCT could hold the key to understanding the alarming global decline in amphibians.

When in their natural habitat, the Costa Rican tree frogs being studied in Manchester prefer to live on leaves and branches high above the ground.

They enjoy basking in the hot sun which is unusual because frogs normally avoid prolonged exposure to high levels of light due to the risk of overheating and dehydration.

The Manchester teams hypothesis is that global warming is leading to more cloud cover in the frogs natural habitat.

They believe this is denying them the opportunity to 'sunbathe' and kill off fatal Chytrid fungal infections, leading to many species dying out.

In their work so far, the team have observed that the skin of basking tree frogs sometimes undergoes a visible change and becomes almost metallic in texture. They think that when this happens, the level of absorption and reflection and the skin temperature also changes.

The Manchester team believe tree frogs are able to bask happily under a fierce sun because they have the ability to regulate their body temperature and prevent overheating through the unique structure and properties of their skin.

Gray, Dickinson and Preziosi are now seeking further funding to do more comprehensive research using the OCT technique which is more commonly used to examine the human retina and put their hypothesis to the test.

As part of their studies, they want to use OCT to compare structural changes in the skin of tree frogs with the structural changes in the skin of frogs that do not have the same high levels of infrared reflectance.

This reflectance is associated with a pigment called pterorhodin, and allows the tree frogs to camouflage themselves from predators by adjusting the infrared reflection of their skin to match the infrared reflection of the leaves they laze upon.

They team are hoping to work with and support the important work being carried by the eminent climatologist, Alan Pounds, who has theorised that global warming is a major factor in amphibian declines.

The team plan to travel out to Costa Rica next year and to apply spectral reflectance techniques to tree frogs living in their natural habitat.

Dr Mark Dickinson said: "This is a great example of an exciting interdisciplinary research project that draws on expertise right across the university. It is proof that interdisciplinary research is not just a fashionable expression we band around, but something we actually do."

Andrew Gray said: With a third of the worlds amphibians currently under threat its vitally important we do our utmost to investigate the reasons why they are dying out at such an alarming rate.

"The imaging technique we use is completely non-invasive and does not harm the frogs in any way. As an animal conservationist, I simply would not allow any research that distressed these amazing creatures."


'/>"/>

Contact: Alex Waddington
alex.waddington@manchester.ac.uk
01-612-758-387
University of Manchester
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Great Plains historical stability vulnerable to future changes
2. Gene may hold key to future cancer hope
3. DOE publishes update of plan: Facilities for the Future of Science: A 20-Year Outlook
4. NASA technology helps predict and prevent future pandemic outbreaks
5. Abnormal fat metabolism underlies heart problems in diabetic patients
6. A study by the MUHC and McGill University opens a new door to understanding cancer
7. Antioxidant overload may underlie a heritable human disease
8. Understanding hypertension in African Americans proves elusive
9. Climate change goes underground
10. LSU professor looks for life in and under antarctic ice
11. Systems Biology poised to revolutionize the understanding of cell function and disease
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/11/2017)... Apr. 11, 2017 Research and Markets has ... report to their offering. ... The global eye tracking market to grow at a CAGR of ... Eye Tracking Market 2017-2021, has been prepared based on an in-depth ... market landscape and its growth prospects over the coming years. The ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... , April 5, 2017 Today ... announcing that the server component of the HYPR platform ... for providing the end-to-end security architecture that empowers biometric ... HYPR has already secured over 15 million users ... including manufacturers of connected home product suites and physical ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... The research team of The Hong Kong ... identification by adopting ground breaking 3D fingerprint minutiae recovery and matching ... and accuracy for use in identification, crime investigation, immigration control, security ... ... A research team led by ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/26/2017)... ... May 25, 2017 , ... Throughout this webinar, participants ... how process development and economic goals were achieved in both industry and academic ... bioreactor system, along with techniques for scaling production of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) ...
(Date:5/24/2017)... LITTLETON, MA. (PRWEB) , ... ... ... Incorporated, the Northeast's premier provider of high quality relocatable and permanent modular ... space combines visual management tools and modern office design characteristics to help ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... , ... A recent survey conducted by the Weed Science Society of America ... 12 categories of broadleaf crops, fruits and vegetables, while common lambsquarters ranks as the ... participated in the 2016 survey, the second conducted by WSSA. A 2015 baseline ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... PARK, CA (PRWEB) , ... May 23, 2017 , ... ... the publication of “Label-free isolation of prostate circulating tumor cells using Vortex microfluidic ... is the result of a collaboration with Dr. Dino Di Carlo and Dr. Matthew ...
Breaking Biology Technology: