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      Status and Trends of Amphibian Declines and Extinctions Worldwide

      Science

      American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

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          Most cited references 19

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          The future of biodiversity.

          Recent extinction rates are 100 to 1000 times their pre-human levels in well-known, but taxonomically diverse groups from widely different environments. If all species currently deemed "threatened" become extinct in the next century, then future extinction rates will be 10 times recent rates. Some threatened species will survive the century, but many species not now threatened will succumb. Regions rich in species found only within them (endemics) dominate the global patterns of extinction. Although new technology provides details of habitat losses, estimates of future extinctions are hampered by our limited knowledge of which areas are rich in endemics.
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            Chytridiomycosis causes amphibian mortality associated with population declines in the rain forests of Australia and Central America.

            Epidermal changes caused by a chytridiomycete fungus (Chytridiomycota; Chytridiales) were found in sick and dead adult anurans collected from montane rain forests in Queensland (Australia) and Panama during mass mortality events associated with significant population declines. We also have found this new disease associated with morbidity and mortality in wild and captive anurans from additional locations in Australia and Central America. This is the first report of parasitism of a vertebrate by a member of the phylum Chytridiomycota. Experimental data support the conclusion that cutaneous chytridiomycosis is a fatal disease of anurans, and we hypothesize that it is the proximate cause of these recent amphibian declines.
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              Quantitative evidence for global amphibian population declines.

              Although there is growing concern that amphibian populations are declining globally, much of the supporting evidence is either anecdotal or derived from short-term studies at small geographical scales. This raises questions not only about the difficulty of detecting temporal trends in populations which are notoriously variable, but also about the validity of inferring global trends from local or regional studies. Here we use data from 936 populations to assess large-scale temporal and spatial variations in amphibian population trends. On a global scale, our results indicate relatively rapid declines from the late 1950s/early 1960s to the late 1960s, followed by a reduced rate of decline to the present. Amphibian population trends during the 1960s were negative in western Europe (including the United Kingdom) and North America, but only the latter populations showed declines from the 1970s to the late 1990s. These results suggest that while large-scale trends show considerable geographical and temporal variability, amphibian populations are in fact declining--and that this decline has been happening for several decades.
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                Journal
                10.1126/science.1103538

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