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

late 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."


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

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