Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Global Warming © USA, LLC

Global Warming ©, originally uploaded by yusuf_alioglu.

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IT'S HARD To IMAGINE spring without the call of peepers or the ribbet of bullfrogs, yet North American amphibians are showing signs of trouble. In 1995, Minnesota middle-school students on a field trip to a farm pond found leopard frogs with misshapen, extra, or malformed limbs. Since then, in several states and provinces across the United States and Canada amphibians of several different species, including frogs, toads, newts, and salamanders, have been found with missing limbs, misplaced eyes, and other abnormalities, and their general numbers are in decline. Scientists are asking the public to report sitings of both normal and malformed amphibians. This information will be used to determine where the problems are most acute, so that scientists may then investigate.

Amphibians have such close contact with water that they are especially sensitive to changes in water quality, according to Dennis Fenn, chief biologist of the biological resource division of the U.S. Geological Survey based in Reston, Virginia. Like canaries in the coal mine, their well-being, or lack thereof, is a potential indicator of environmental problems, from chemical to micro-organismal, for other species, including our own.

To learn how to identify amphibians and malformations, record sightings, or view a map showing the distribution of malformations, visit the North American Reporting Center's web site at A frog web site,, which is jointly funded by the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is an additional source of information.

Source Citation
Scherer, Jane. "Silent Spring?" Horticulture, Gardening at its Best May 2000: 17. InfoTrac Garden, Landscape & Horticulture eCollection. Web. 24 Mar. 2010.
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