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Amphibians Essay

2001 words - 8 pages

Amphibian means “double life” referring to the fact that most adult amphibians live on land while embryos need water to survive. Some amphibians have been around since the Jurassic age; however the numbers of these long alive animals are declining around the world (Amphibia). As of 2010, 32% of the world’s 6600 amphibian species were threatened with extinction (Hayes, Falso, Gallipeau, Stice 2010). There is no single cause of the amphibian decline, but it seems that habitat loss, like deforestation, is the main reason along with human impact in terms of urbanization, forest fragmentation, predation, human exploitation, pathogens and climate change (Hayes, Falso, Gallipeau, Stice 2010). The climate is decreasing amphibians because of the increase of temperature, less rainfall, higher UV radiation levels and increases in pesticides. The declining population rate is also a factor; there is more death and reduced birth rates among amphibians. The amphibian population decline was considered a global phenomenon in the early 1990s and some experts consider this decline the Earth’s sixth mass extinction (Hayes, Falso, Gallipeau, Stice 2010).
One way to gather information about the amphibian decrease was done by the Global Amphibian Assessment or GAA. The GAA was the first-ever global assessment the amphibian conservation status and takes into account the 5,743 known species in the world, according to the GAA (AmphibiaTree). The results of the GAA are posted for public knowledge on the Amphibian Specialty Group Website (Animal Specialty Group). There is an assessment on the amphibian decline, including the Red List threat, the regions and ranges of certain amphibians, and general ecology information (AmphibiaTree). The GAA has stated that out of amphibians, birds and mammals, amphibians as a group are more threatened than either birds or mammals (Silvano and Segalla 2005).
Countries that have accumulated information about their own amphibian decline are Brazil, Puerto Rico, Europe and the United States. Brazil’s decline began in 1980’s and is due to habitat destruction by deforestation, but also the prevalence of pathological chytrid fungi. Other factors are water pollution and contamination from chemicals, climate change, invasive species and ultraviolet radiation. Most reports of declines come from one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots, the Atlantic Forest in Brazil. There are reports of declines and disappearances for 30 species in the Atlantic Forest. In 1989 Threatened Species List only included 1 amphibian species and in 2002 the Threatened Species List included 15 Amphibians species, which is a sharp increase in the decline of amphibians. The GAA (Global Amphibian Assessment) suggests measures for amphibian conservation in South America including the importance of strict habitat protection, captive breeding, education about the environment, infectious disease research and problems that are causing amphibian decline by looking at...

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