The scientists who organize Amphibian Ark believe that climate change may be exacerbating the spread of the frog-killing chytrid fungus. The current issue of The Scientist examines this in the article, “Climate Change and Frog Deaths.” It cites different studies, including those that:

“… found a correlation between frog declines and years when the temperature exceeded historical averages: Populations would dwindle in the warm year and disappear in the following year. ‘The study is the first to link some recent species extinctions to climate change,’ says (J. Alan) Pounds.”  (Pounds is a scientist in Costa Rica’s Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve.)

“… found that temperature fluctuations (not just temperature increase or decrease alone) can weaken immunologic responses and increase susceptibility to infection in red-spotted newts.” (This finding comes from Jason Rohr and team at the University of South Florida in Tampa.)

But while there’s consensus that chytrid has spread and it’s lethal, the connection to global warming is being debated. According to the article, Lee Skerratt at James Cook University “argues in a 2007 paper  that the effects of climate change have not been significant enough to be a primary cause of the chytridomycosis outbreaks. ‘You don’t need climate change for a disease to wipe frogs out,’ he says.”

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