From: University of California - Davis via EurekAlert!
Published July 7, 2016 04:01 PM

Frogs that can take the heat expected to fare better in a changing world

Amphibians that tolerate higher temperatures are likely to fare better in a world affected by climate change, disease and habitat loss, according to two recent studies from the University of California, Davis.

Frogs are disappearing globally, and the studies examine why some survive while others perish. The studies reveal that thermal tolerance -- the ability to withstand higher temperatures -- may be a key trait in predicting amphibian declines.

HEAT-TOLERANT FROGS ESCAPE DEADLY FUNGUS

One of the world's deadliest wildlife pandemics is caused by a fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, or Bd. The fungus is linked to several amphibian extinctions and global declines.

A study published online June 24 in the journal Ecology Letters describes how amphibians that can tolerate high temperatures are at lower risk of infection by the fungus. This is likely because Bd grows best in cool environments. Frogs with low thermal tolerances are essentially trapped in the same thermal niche as the fungus, whereas species with high thermal tolerance can escape infection.

"Our study helps us better understand who the 'winners' and 'losers' may be following infection outbreaks and why," said senior author Brian Todd, associate professor of conservation biology in the UC Davis Department of Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology. "Understanding which traits make species susceptible to disease can help us better predict which species will be most affected by new disease outbreaks -- outbreaks that may be increasingly common in an age of climate change and pathogen transport facilitated by globalization."

Continue reading at EurekAlert!

Image: Strawberry Poison Dart Frog via Eden.uktv.co.uk/

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