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Frog Fungus Hammering Biodiversity Of Communities

A microscopic fungus by the name of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, or Bd, is killing Central American frogs as a rate that is more alarming that once believed.

"The fungus is devastating to frogs because it infects the skin, a much more important organ in amphibians than in other vertebrates. Many frogs breath and drink through their skin and use it as we use our kidneys to maintain the proper concentrations of ions such as sodium and potassium in their bloodstreams."

Once Bd was discovered within a community of frogs, researches kept track of number of declining species and found that each community, once introduced to Bd, was losing at least half of it's species. What was even more significant is the "fungus preferentially attacked endemic species found only at one or a few sites."

The result is a loss in the biodiversity resulting in a homogenization of the frog communities. The impact of this has worldwide implications because "regional extinction may mean global extinction. The regional extinctions strongly suggest these species are gone not just from the region but from the planet."

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