Amphibians - Essay

Topics: Amphibian, Frog, Extinction Pages: 7 (2272 words) Published: May 31, 2012
Original Source:

For my original source, I have chosen the article “status and trends of Amphibian Declines and Extinctions Worldwide, “ which featured in Science on the 3rd of December in 2004. In this article, Simon N. Stuart el at. assesses the problem of amphibian declinations. It is a known fact the world’s species are facing extinction at an alarming rate, but amphibians are dying faster than other types of animals. Since the 1970s, amphibians have been declining in quantity and dying rates have been uniform throughout the world. Through these findings, scientists were convinced “that amphibian declines were nonrandom unidirectional events.” In order to try and understand amphibians better, scientists began to gather data on the “ distribution, abundance, population trends, habitat associations, and threats for all 5743 described species of amphibians.”

The results from the data collection proved to be very grim. Amphibians were found to be in a very precarious position and many were almost extinct. Officially, there are 34 species of amphibians that are extinct and they have disappeared since the 1980s. As of now, 435 species have been placed as top priority. These species are further sub grouped into 3 groups, which categorizes them on the reasons for endangerment. The first group is “overexploited.” The second group is “reduced-habitat.” The third group is “enigmatic-decline.” Scientists have noticed that “enigmatic” declines are causing extinction rates to rise rapidly.

Further research revealed that the distributions of these categorized species are nonrandom. The “overexploited” species thrive mainly in the East as well as Southeast Asia. The “reduced-habitat” species usually occur in Southeast Asia, West Africa and the Caribbean. The “enigmatic-decline” species are common in South America, Mesoamerica, Puerto Rico and Australia. Out of the 3 groups, the enigmatic species are the hardest to handle. This is primarily because of the insufficient data on them. As a result, scientists are unable to come up with conservation methods. The only thing that is known about them is that they are more frequently located in high-elevations in the tropics. The problem is that many kinds of viruses and diseases are located in high-elevation tropics. This is a speculation as to why the “enigmatic” species are decreasing rapidly.

The article stresses that “the wide variation between families in the number and proportion of rapidly declining species is confounded by the nonrandom geographic pattern of declines.” This means that if the rapidly declining species move to other continents, then other species run the risk of becoming extinct too. Hence, it is important to prevent these species from migrating to other continents. The article concludes by declaring that the only way to save these species is to breed them intentionally. These declines must be understood quickly in order to ensure the survival of amphibians in the distant future.

1st Source (good):

The article “Pinpointing and preventing imminent extinctions,” which featured in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) on May 10 in 2011, cites the original article is a good manner. In this article, Taylor H. Ricketts et al. mentions that he only way to slow down the loss of biodiversity is by preventing extinction. This article tries to shed light on the fact that highly endangered species are all restricted to single sites. Via five globally assessed taxa (group of one or more organisms), it is discovered that there are “794 such endangered species, which is three times the number recorded as gone extinct in 1500.” The highly endangered species are spread out over 595 locations. It is known that one-third of these sites are legally protected. Ricketts et al. concludes by encouraging us to make use of these sites for immediate conservation.

Although this article focused on all kinds of taxa and not...

Cited: Simon N. Stuart, Janice S. Chanson, Neil A. Cox, Bruce E. Young, Ana S. L Rodrigues, Debra L. Fischman and Robert R. Waller. “Status and trends of Amphibian Declines and Extinctions Worldwide.” Science Vol. 306, 3rd December 2004.
Taylor H. Ricketts, Eric Dinerstein, Tim Bourcher, Thomas M. Brooks, Stuart H. M. Butchart, Michael Hoffman, John F. Lamoreux, John Morrison, Mike Parr, John D. Pilgrim, Ana S. L. Rodrigues, Wes Sechrest, George E. Wallace, Ken Berlin, Jon Bielby, Neil D. Burgess, Don R. Church, Neil Cox, David Knox, Colby Loucks, Gary W. Luck, Lawrence L. Master, Robin Moore, Robin Naidoo, Robert Ridgely, George E. Schatz, Gavin Shire, Holly Strand, Wes Wettengel and Eric Wikramanayake. “Pinpointing and preventing imminent extinctions.” PNAS, Vol. 102 no. 51, December 12, 2005.
Kirsten M. Parris, Meah Velik-Lord and Joanne M. A. North. “Frogs call at a higher pitch in Traffic noise.” Ecology and Society, 14(1): 25, published in 2009.
Brandon Sheafor, Elizabeth W. Davidson, Luke Parr and Louise Rollins-Smith. “Antimicrobial peptide defenses in the salamander, Ambystoma Tigrinium, against emerging amphibian pathogens.” Journal of Wildlife Diseases, 44(2), 2008, pp. 226-236.
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