By Richard Black
Environment correspondent, BBC News website
Conservationists have launched a new initiative aimed at safeguarding the world's amphibians from extinction.
The Amphibian Survival Alliance will bring together existing projects and organisations, improving co-ordination, scientific research and fund-raising.
About a third of amphibian species are threatened with extinctions.
A two-day summit held last week in London identified the two main threats as destruction of habitat and the fungal disease chytridiomycosis.
"The world's amphibians are facing an uphill battle for survival," said James Collins, co-chair of the Amphibian Specialist Group (ASG) co-ordinated by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
"As a group, amphibians are considerably more threatened than birds, mammals, fish or reptiles."
Read on >>> http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8222549.stm
Also: Deadly frog fungus targeted by amphibian experts and Hopping mad about money
Amphibian Specialist Group (IUCN): http://www.amphibians.org/
Amphibian Conservation Action Plan (PDF)
"Extinction is inevitable—more than 99.9% of Earth’s species are extinct (Raup 1991). David Raup went on to observe that “Extinction is a difficult research topic. No critical experiment can be performed, and inferences are all too often influenced by preconceptions based on general theory.” Studying the causes of extinction has traditionally been the purview of paleontologists and not ecologists and evolutionary biologists working on contemporary systems. But accelerating losses in many species late in the 20th century have altered the scholarship of extinction by bringing the extinction events typical of evolutionary time within the dimensions of ecological time.
Beginning in the late 1980s, an especially prominent example of a global loss of biodiversity came to light as herpetologists reported amphibians had gone missing within protected parks and reserves. Since then research has shown that modern amphibian declines and extinctions have no precedent in any animal class over the last few millennia (Stuart Et al. 2004). About 32% of some 6000 amphibian species are threatened as compared to12% of bird and 23% of mammal species. Up to 122 amphibian species may be extinct since 1980, and population size is declining in at least 43% of species. In the last decades of the 20th century the amphibian extinction rate exceeded the mean extinction rate of the last 350 million years by at least 200 times (Roelants et al. 2007). Recent amphibian declines are an opportunity to study the causes of extinction in recent, not ancient, populations."
The Amphibian Survival Alliance is supported by:
Alliance for Zero Extinction
Arizona State University
Chester Zoo North of England Zoological Society
Chicago Zoological Society
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Herpetologie und Terrarienkunde (DGHT)
Frankfurt Zoological Society
James Cook University
Museo Regionale di Scienze Naturali, Torino
Oro Verde Foundation for the Conservation of Tropical Forests
Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation
Society for Tropical Ecology – gto
The Prince's Rainforests Project
University of Maryland
Washington State University
World Association of Zoos and Aquariums
Zoological Society of London
Zoologischer Garten Frankfurt
(and MarineBio! Why you may ask? Because any loss of species of this magnitude effects all of us and represents a trend that if not halted, will certainly continue effecting more and more species of other groups as well, including marine species, which has already begun in my opinion. If we cannot protect amphibians up on land living with us, what chance does marine life really have?)
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