Tag Archives: amphibians

Amphibians in a vise: Climate change robs frogs, salamanders of refuge

By hightailing it to nearby ponds and shallow waterways, frogs and salamanders have – until now – had a way to evade exotic trout introduced to the West’s high-mountain lakes for recreational fishing.

A warming climate, however, will dry up some of the places where amphibians and their young have found refuge. Researchers in the May 1 issue of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment write about this challenge and a novel combination of tools that could help land managers, biologists, fishing enthusiasts and other citizens weigh where amphibians are in the most need of help and guide plans for possible fish removals from selected lakes. (more…)

Read More

Mapping Out How to Save Species

In stunning color, new biodiversity research from North Carolina State University maps out priority areas worldwide that hold the key to protecting vulnerable species and focusing conservation efforts.

The research, published online in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, pinpoints the highest global concentrations of mammals, amphibians and birds on a scale that’s 100 times finer than previous assessments. The findings can be used to make the most of available conservation resources, said Dr. Clinton Jenkins, lead author and research scholar at NC State University. (more…)

Read More

UA Study: Evolution Too Slow to Keep Up With Climate Change

A study led by a UA ecologist has found that many species evolve too slowly to adapt to the rapid climate change expected in the next 100 years.

Many vertebrate species would have to evolve about 10,000 times faster than they have in the past to adapt to the rapid climate change expected in the next 100 years, a study led by a University of Arizona ecologist has found.

Scientists analyzed how quickly species adapted to different climates in the past, using data from 540 living species from all major groups of terrestrial vertebrates, including amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. They then compared their rates of evolution to rates of climate change projected for the end of this century. This is the first study to compare past rates of adaption to future rates of climate change.  (more…)

Read More

Geothermal Energy Keeps Turkeys Comfortable and Saves Farmers’ Money; Prototype Designed by MU Engineer

COLUMBIA, Mo. — While Americans prepare to cook millions of turkeys for Thanksgiving, a geothermal energy system developed by a University of Missouri engineer will be keeping live turkeys toasty during the chilly autumn weather. In a prototype facility, designed by a University of Missouri engineer, environmentally and economically friendly geothermal energy is keeping turkeys comfortable during both cold and hot weather. The system is designed to reduce utility costs while improving the air quality for the birds.

“This is our first prototype of a geothermal system in a commercial livestock operation,” said Yun-Sheng Xu, associate research professor in civil and environmental engineering. “Our first set of performance data suggests that farmers could cut their heating costs in half at current propane prices. Currently, two units are installed at the test farm. Other farmers could begin installing units on their turkey farms as soon as next year, for use by next winter.” (more…)

Read More

Blanket Bogs Need Protection from Climate Change

Blanket bogs, which provide vital habitats for a unique range of plants, birds, small mammals, reptiles and amphibians, are at risk of declining as a result of climate change.

Research by the Universities of Exeter and Bristol in the UK and Macquarie University in Australia, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, shows for the first time how rising temperatures will threaten these sensitive ecosystems.

The study highlights the urgency of developing a plan to protect these important habitats.

Found in wet, coastal areas of high latitude regions, blanket bogs cover around 700,000 hectares of land in the UK, much of it designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Blanket bogs are found in the north and west of the UK, extending from Devon in the south to Shetland in the north, and it has been estimated that 10 to15 per cent of the world’s blanket bog occurs in Britain. As well as being crucial in supporting wildlife, blanket bogs also capture and store large amounts of carbon, helping to mitigate against climate change, and reduce the risk of flooding, by slowing down water flow. With some blanket peat being over 9,000 years old, they also hold historically-significant archaeological material. (more…)

Read More

Ribbeting Research

Studies of frogs may lead to better hearing aids

When Mark Bee talks to his 106-year-old grandmother alone, her two enormous hearing aids enable her to understand him well.

“But at a table at Thanksgiving, with everybody talking, the devices don’t do well,” says Bee, an associate professor of ecology, evolution and behavior at the University of Minnesota.

Her difficulty in a noisy situation is called the cocktail party problem, after the background babble that stymies many hearing-impaired people trying to pick out individual voices at a party. But in ponds all over the world, frogs handle a similar problem, and Bee hopes to learn enough about how they do it to put the principles to work helping people like his grandmother. (more…)

Read More

Hiding in Plain Sight, A New Frog Species With A ‘Weird’ Croak is Identified in New York City

In the wilds of New York City — or as wild as you can get so close to skyscrapers — scientists have found a new leopard frog species that for years biologists mistook for a more widespread variety of leopard frog.

While biologists regularly discover new species in remote rain forests, finding this one in the ponds and marshes of Staten Island, mainland New York and New Jersey — sometimes within view of the Statue of Liberty — is a big surprise, said the scientists from UCLA, Rutgers University, UC Davis, and The University of Alabama who worked together to make the unexpected discovery. (more…)

Read More

Oil Exploration Would Endanger The Most Biodiverse Region in The Western Hemisphere, Say Scientists

AUSTIN, Texas — An international team of scientists that includes two University of Texas at Austin researchers has found that Ecuador’s Yasuní National Park, which sits on top of massive reserves of oil, is in the single most biodiverse region in the Western Hemisphere.

The announcement is part of a final push for the Yasuní-ITT Initiative at the United Nations General Assembly. The initiative proposes that Ecuador receive compensation for half of the revenues the nation would lose by protecting the estimated 846 million barrels of oil that lie beneath the forest. (more…)

Read More