Amphibians in danger from climate change

The study, which involved more than 100 researchers, analyzed data on amphibians collected around the world over the past two decades and confirmed that the destruction of their habitat and the emergence of new diseases - two impacts exacerbated by the climate crisis - are the main causes of the extinction of these species.

The study published in Nature, which has been carried out by more than 1.000 experts from around the world, has found that 41% of amphibian species are threatened with extinction. This represents an increase of 33% since the first global amphibian assessment carried out in 2004. This contrasts with 26,5% in mammals, 21,4% in reptiles and 12,9% in birds.

Climate change is one of the main threats to amphibians. Amphibians are cold-blooded animals that depend on the temperature of the environment to regulate their body temperature. Climate change is causing global temperatures to rise, which can affect the reproduction, development and survival of amphibians.

"As humans drive changes in the climate and reduce the availability of habitats where they can live, amphibians' chances of survival are reduced, since they cannot escape the increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme heat, forest fires. , droughts and hurricanes induced by climate change"says Jennifer Luedtke Swandby, director of the Re:wild species alliances, coordinator at the IUCN and one of the lead authors of the article.

"Our study shows that we can no longer underestimate these threats. Protecting and restoring rainforests and forests is essential not only to safeguard biodiversity, but also to confront climate change.”, He emphasizes.

More details

Between 2004 and 2022, critical factors have brought more than 300 amphibian species dangerously close to extinction. Climate change is the main threat for 39% of these species, and this number is expected to increase as better data and forecasts become available on how to address a group of species that are particularly sensitive to these environmental changes in their habitat. .

In fact, habitat destruction and degradation, exacerbated by the impacts of climate change, affects 93% of all threatened amphibian species, suggesting that the expansion of protected areas and ecological corridors connecting habitats will continue to be important.

Other threats to amphibians

Other threats to amphibians include pollution, infectious diseases and introduced predators.

The study highlights the need to take urgent measures to conserve amphibians. These measures include protecting amphibians' natural habitats, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and controlling infectious diseases.

An example of this is the disease caused by the chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, which has already erased numerous species of amphibians from the planet.

"The greater frequency of severe droughts and tropical storms caused by climate change significantly increases the vulnerability of amphibians to the chytrid fungus.”, explains the researcher at the National Museum of Natural Sciences (MNCN-CSIC) Patricia A. Burrowes.

Below are some of the key findings from the study:

  • 41% of amphibian species are threatened with extinction.
  • Climate change is one of the main threats to these animals.
  • Habitat loss, pollution, infectious diseases and introduced predators are also major threats.
  • It is necessary to take urgent measures to conserve them.

Amphibians are a very diverse group of animals that play an important role in ecosystems. They are predators of insects and other invertebrates, and are also prey to other animals. They are also indicators of the health of ecosystems.

"Amphibians are disappearing faster than we can study them, but the list of reasons to protect them is long and includes their role in medicine, pest control, their ability to alert us to environmental conditions, as well as improving the health of animals. ecosystems and make the planet a more beautiful place"explains Kelsey Neam, species priorities and metrics coordinator at Re:wild and one of the lead authors of the paper.

The loss of amphibians would have a negative impact on ecosystems and biodiversity.

Reference:

Jennifer A. Luedtke et al. "Ongoing declines for the world's amphibians in the face of emerging threats" Nature

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