A Col­lec­tion of News by Moos


Cli­mate change is a threat to bio­di­ver­sity, but ….

pub­lished 24 Sep­tem­ber 2010 | mod­i­fied 02 March 2010

is not always the dri­ving force behind extinc­tions. In a 2006 study trop­i­cal warm­ing of the last decade was linked to the dis­ap­pear­ance of 64 amphib­ian species. The cli­mate change cre­ated con­di­tions that allowed the cychrid fun­gus to grow and spread, which led to the lethal dis­ease of frogs and toads, the researchers said. A recent study argues that it was the peri­odic and nat­ural warm­ing of waters off South Amer­ica, El Niño, in com­bi­na­tion with the recently intro­duced cychrid fun­gus that led to the extinc­tion of the Mon­teverde golden toad in 198687.

This extinc­tion is often cited as an exam­ple of climate-​triggered extinc­tion. Using new tech­niques to recon­struct past cli­mate from tiny sam­ples of wood drilled from trop­i­cal trees, the researchers of Colum­bia Uni­ver­sity and Uni­ver­sity of Mary­land dis­cov­ered that the dry spell of 198687 was within the range of nor­mal cli­mate vari­abil­ity. So, it had noth­ing to do with global warm­ing that the Mon­teverde golden toad went extinct. It was just bad luck. A dry spell caused by El Niño, not long after the deadly cychrid fun­gus was intro­duced, made the toads hud­dle together for repro­duc­tion in the few pools that were left. This cre­ated an enor­mous infec­tion pres­sure, prompt­ing the dis­ease to spread rapidly.

Prov­ing a link between cli­mate change and bio­di­ver­sity loss is dif­fi­cult because so many over­lap­ping fac­tors may be involved, includ­ing habi­tat destruc­tion, dis­ease intro­duc­tion and weather vari­abil­ity. This is espe­cially true in the trop­ics, because writ­ten weather records may go back only a few decades, pre­vent­ing researchers from spot­ting long-​term trends. (Source: web­site The Earth Insti­tute, Colum­bia University)

UN Biodiversity decade

Goal: 7000 tigers in the wild

Tiger range countries map

Tiger map” (CC BY 2.5) by Sander­son et al., 2006.

about zoos and their mis­sion regard­ing breed­ing endan­gered species, nature con­ser­va­tion, bio­di­ver­sity and edu­ca­tion, which of course relates to the evo­lu­tion of species.
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