New Horizons in Science

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A new fungus stalks the amphibian world

Topic: Biology: Conservation
Emperor newt (Tylotriton sp).
Emperor newt (Tylotriton sp).
Monday, October 28, 2019 -
10:50am to 11:50am

Earlier this year, a major paper laid out the dimensions of the ongoing "amphibian apocalypse," a worldwide loss of amphibian populations accelerated by a chytrid fungus. Biologist Karen Lips has been studying the ecosystem and human health effects of this crisis, but meanwhile she is preparing for the next one. A chytrid fatal to salamanders and newts has been wiping out wild populations in Asia and now in Europe. It is only a matter of time, Lips says, until it reaches the world's hotspot of salamander biodiversity — North America — most likely by legal or illegal importation of an infected animal. Lips and other biologists are documenting the status of salamanders and their ecosystems to provide monitoring and possible protection of these doubly threatened creatures.

 

Emperor newt (Tylotriton sp). Image: Brian Gratwicke (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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