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1/3 of Amphibians Dying Out

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the world-without-frogs dept.

Earth 467

Death Metal sends in a Scientific American article reporting that 2,000 of 6,000 amphibian species are endangered worldwide. A combination of environmental assaults, including global warming, seems to be responsible. "... national parks and other areas protected from pollution and development are providing no refuge. The frogs and salamanders of Yellowstone National Park have been declining since the 1980s, according to a Stanford University study, as global warming dries out seasonal ponds, leaving dried salamander corpses in their wake. Since the 1970s, nearly 75 percent of the frogs and other amphibians of La Selva Biological Station in Braulio Carrillo National Park in the Caribbean lowlands of Costa Rica have died, perhaps due to global warming. But the really bad news is that amphibians may be just the first sign of other species in trouble. Biologists at the University of California, San Diego, have shown that amphibians are the first to respond to environmental changes, thanks to their sensitivity to both air and water. What goes for amphibians may soon be true of other classes of animal, including mammals."

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Oh yeah? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25608681)

Well, fuck frogs.

I like salamanders, though.

The real question... (0, Offtopic)

dlgeek (1065796) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608683)

The real question is, do they taste good fried?

Re:The real question... (-1, Troll)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 5 years ago | (#25609321)

No, the real question is....

...why the fuck should we care?

Diversity? Thats crap. There are so many species on this planet that we can't even count them. The loss of even hundreds of thousands of species is statistically insignificant.

Heres an idea.. give me a reason why a specific species is worth protecting, and then if you convince me, I'll even fucking help you to save it.

Bullshit! (2, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608689)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PufNFWo9mm0 [youtube.com]

The endangered species act is a national disgrace.

Re:Bullshit! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25608905)

99.999% of all the species that have ever existed are extinct!!!

IT IS NATURAL FOR PLANTS AND ANIMALS TO GO EXTINCT!
 

Re:Bullshit! (1)

Bishop Rook (1281208) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608989)

You're right. We should just reclassify humanity as an extinction event, like a giant meteor impact, beyond our control!, and move on with our lives.

Oh, right. That whole 'food chain' thing that we're at the top of. What's that old saying about chains and weakest links?

Re:Bullshit! (0, Troll)

narcberry (1328009) | more than 5 years ago | (#25609021)

My diet rarely consists of spotted owl. Do they crap a cure for cancer?

Re:Bullshit! (2, Insightful)

GodKingAmit (1192629) | more than 5 years ago | (#25609217)

You are aware that the interactions between living organisms are far more complex than "I don't eat it, therefore it doesn't matter", right?

Re:Bullshit! (1)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#25609317)

My diet rarely consists of spotted owl. Do they crap a cure for cancer?

That type of reasoning sounds really stupid when you consider it from the other side. For example:

"Most of the paper I use doesn't come from the US. Do loggers do anything that makes them more sympathetic to me than spotted owls?"

Re:Bullshit! (5, Insightful)

BPPG (1181851) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608999)

It is perfectly natural for plants and animals to go extinct.

But there ought to be cause for concern when so many are about to go extinct at once. Whether or not it's a natural disaster or a human-caused disaster can be debated until the cows come home, but the planet is changing right now, causing irreparable damage.

Re:Bullshit on Bullshit! (5, Insightful)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608991)

Personally, I wouldn't take advice on the law or public policy from two jokers who make a living from misdirection and yelling profanity at reasoned arguments.

Furthermore, I wouldn't cite as evidence of how horrible the ESA is a video that builds part of its argument around the notion that there is no mass extinction event going on right now in an article about a mass extinction event going on right now.

Good Lord, give me back the past 30 minutes of my life. What an irritating mishmash of profanity, name-calling, and irrational conservative talking points. Lindy's story was kind of sad, but the impact of the story was blunted severely by all the smug, sneering, venomous, and immature posturing that overlay it.

mmmm... mammals... (2, Interesting)

Maxhrk (680390) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608697)

I happen to notice that Human is also in category of mammals. Does that mean we are the endangered specie now? ...

Re:mmmm... mammals... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25608723)

If you even have to ask, you really are clueless.

We've been killing ourselves since the industrial revolution.

Re:mmmm... mammals... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25608745)

True, we all went along fine before that... o_O

Re:mmmm... mammals... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25609259)

We've been killing ourselves since the industrial revolution.

True, we all went along fine before that... o_O

Well, before then, we were just killing each other. That's different.

Re:mmmm... mammals... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25609207)

If you even have to ask, you really are clueless.

We've been killing ourselves since the industrial revolution.

Good point. The population of the world when the industrial revolution began was about 1 billion. Surely it must be lower now considering how we've been killing ourselves!

Re:mmmm... mammals... (5, Funny)

Patrik_AKA_RedX (624423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25609189)

Great, now we can't eat humans anymore?

Has someone told phelps? (4, Funny)

CavemanKiwi (559158) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608709)

Has someone told phelps? Has to be said. :)

*squish* Just like grape. (2, Insightful)

Bacon Bits (926911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608725)

The rule for species survival is simple: adapt or die. There are historical events of much greater scale and effect than this global climate change will be. If a species can't adapt, then it will die out. A species that can't adapt to a minor change in environment was probably doomed to extinction anyways regardless of Man's contribution to global climate change.

Nature rule, Danial-san.

Re:*squish* Just like grape. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25608847)

Comments like yours are silly. At the end of the day we must still live on Earth. And we still want to maintain our living standards.

Changes like this may mean that this is no longer possible. What shall we do, just let huge populations of people die?

We have to do something.

Re:*squish* Just like grape. (4, Insightful)

Cassius Corodes (1084513) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608849)

While it may seem fine and dandy to say that - if enough of the ecosystem is wiped out then it will make life much more difficult for us. Remember that when one species dies out its not just it that is effected, other species in the ecosystem that rely on it for their niches are also destroyed, and when enough go it creates a chain reaction that takes out quite a lot. If we are not careful we can make life very bad for us, and could even render earth uninhabitable.

Re:*squish* Just like grape. (2)

hldn (1085833) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608953)

shit happens, species die, humans included.

life goes on ;)

Re:*squish* Just like grape. (5, Insightful)

KeensMustard (655606) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608987)

The rule for species survival is simple: adapt or die.

Yep - simple rule, and it applies to us as well. And compared to other species, our adaptation is simple and very easy. Yet we don't seem to be able to accept the necessity, let alone commence the process. Does our own apparent inability to adapt mean that our extinction should be treated with the aplomb with which you dismiss the amphibians, the coral reefs, the oceanic plankton?

There are historical events of much greater scale and effect than this global climate change will be.

Probably not. This extinction event is shaping up to be unprecedented. I'm wondering actually how you arguments will fit with the conversations we will have with our kids about all those animals in kids books that we killed off. I suppose we could burn all our copies of Finding Nemo.

A species that can't adapt to a minor change in environment was probably doomed to extinction anyways regardless of Man's contribution to global climate change.

I guess in the same way, it doesn't matter if I run over an old man in the street, because I couldn't be bothered steering. He would have died anyway, right?

Re:*squish* Just like grape. (4, Interesting)

BPPG (1181851) | more than 5 years ago | (#25609049)

This isn't about feeling sorry for the animals. Every field of science, from biochemistry to aerodynamics has benefited and can continue to benefit from studying animal and plant life. Amphibians are a particularly interesting family that has contributed a lot to science.

Pollution/Habitat loss, not global warming! (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25608733)

Global Warming is a giant scam. Plenty of Ice core samples going back half a million years ago in Greenland and Antarctica confirm wild swings, often in very short spaces of time (decades) in global temps. No connection either btw to CO2 levels either.

Duh, it's SOLAR OUTPUT that determines temps. Which does indeed vary (we may be in for some real cooling too).

Amphibians are terribly sensitive to pollution, including precipitates from air pollution, particularly mercury and sulfuric acid from the Coal that China burns like crazy, and drifts over most of the US. Habitat loss is also terrible.

We have serious problems with pollution and habitat loss, none with "Global Warming" which is nothing but a scam to take advantage of Gaia-worship and gullible fools.

Re:Pollution/Habitat loss, not global warming! (5, Informative)

Carbon016 (1129067) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608815)

Been reading too many oil company lackeys' "studies", eh? Guess everyone in the field is a gullible fool compared to you, random anonymous Internet poster.

Sun Not a Global Warming Culprit, Study Says [nationalgeographic.com]
Solar Variability Unlikely To Have Caused Recent Warming [cc.oulu.fi]
Don't Blame Sun for Global Warming, Study Says [nationalgeographic.com]
Solar Activity Not Causing Warming [agu.org]

Re:Pollution/Habitat loss, not global warming! (0, Troll)

it_begins (1227690) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608977)

Good thing you didn't quote the same source twice to pad your results.

By the way, is it just me, or does the statement "Don't blame sun for global warming." not make you want to laugh on the face of it.

Re:Pollution/Habitat loss, not global warming! (5, Insightful)

dexmachina (1341273) | more than 5 years ago | (#25609089)

"Good thing you didn't quote the same source twice to pad your results." I'm assuming that was sarcasm, because of the two National Geographic articles. The two articles refer to two different studies and were published almost a year apart. If you want to argue editor bias or something like that, that's one thing. However the grandparent was making a legitimate attempt to back up his claim with multiple sources. Just because that's a rarity around here is no cause to try to spin his/her motives. And again, if you weren't being sarcastic, I apologize, but then that line was kind of random.

Re:Pollution/Habitat loss, not global warming! (1)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 5 years ago | (#25609337)

By the way, is it just me, or does the statement "Don't blame sun for global warming." not make you want to laugh on the face of it.

Why should it? Do you blame your stove and computer for the year-round temperature of your house or apartment, or are there more important forces at play?

Re:Pollution/Habitat loss, not global warming! (5, Insightful)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608927)

We have serious problems with pollution and habitat loss, none with "Global Warming" which is nothing but a scam to take advantage of Gaia-worship and gullible fools.

It's incredible what kind of nonsense gets modded insightful. A scam by whom? By the national academies of science of all developed countries: http://royalsociety.org/displaypagedoc.asp?id=20742 [royalsociety.org] Why would they take part in a scam? What would just about all major scientific organizations and a vast majority of individual scientists involved in climate research have to gain by putting their reputations on the line in order to "take advantage of Gaia-worship and gullible fools"? What would they have to gain from it?

Re:Pollution/Habitat loss, not global warming! (4, Funny)

Tomfrh (719891) | more than 5 years ago | (#25609091)

Why would they take part in a scam?

Same reason they take part in the evolution scam. It's part of their left-wing athiest agenda. Basically, they hate God, and love nothing more than to hurt Jesus. Those sick fucks.

Re:Pollution/Habitat loss, not global warming! (0, Flamebait)

freddy_dreddy (1321567) | more than 5 years ago | (#25609233)

and love nothing more than to hurt Jesus

So, a global scam to undermine some small ridiculous minority religion? I think not, Pinky.

Re:Pollution/Habitat loss, not global warming! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25609325)

So, a global scam to undermine some small ridiculous minority religion? I think not, Pinky.

Hey now, let's not complicate letting a joke go over your head with hyperbole.

Variations of Christianity make up 33% of global religious belief, making it by far the most populous family of faiths, with Islam in second at 20%. Furthermore, it's a very powerful and influential religion, practiced by the majority of people living in First World countries.

Now, the segment of it that's obsessed with the idea that global warming is a lie perpetuated by people motivated by self-interest to seek grant funding is a relatively small portion of Christianity, but it's a very powerful one, because it has a huge influence on US politics.

By no means, should you marginalize climate change deniers as members of a "small" "minority" faith. You risk underestimating a very powerful adversary if you trick yourself into thinking them inconsequential.

Re:Pollution/Habitat loss, not global warming! (-1, Offtopic)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 5 years ago | (#25609249)

Someone mod this wonderful jewel up. Also i'd like to add fuck the left-wing jewish-loving god-haters that tried to tell us man landed on the moon, only God can be on the moon. Praise the lord, let him strike down obama the terrorist / islamic extremist who hates freedom and america.

Re:Pollution/Habitat loss, not global warming! (1, Flamebait)

freddy_dreddy (1321567) | more than 5 years ago | (#25609313)

...let him strike down...

I think that's a lot to ask from a super-being that's generally known for doing shit for eternity.

Re:Pollution/Habitat loss, not global warming! (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 5 years ago | (#25609333)

Hey! he worked that one week.... well 6days really... seriously though, Tomfrh's post was such a hilarious flamebait that i couldn't help but join in thats all.

Re:Pollution/Habitat loss, not global warming! (3, Informative)

dnwq (910646) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608961)

Everyone who is remotely interested in the topic can find everything elsewhere with Google, so arguing about global warming (never mind anthropogenic global warming) here is not likely to produce anything useful. Duly note, however, that most mainstream publications are now assuming AGW when talking about other issues: at a purely social-awareness level, AGW has won.

In the meanwhile, Wikipedia on frogs croaking [wikipedia.org] . Note that TFA is similar, despite what TFS suggests: mostly discussion about pollutants and diseases, with a nod to the obvious factor of climate change as one possible cause of habitat destruction.

Re:Pollution/Habitat loss, not global warming! (1)

Bobby Mahoney (1005759) | more than 5 years ago | (#25609057)

Based on the rising temperatures in the atmosphere of every planet in the solar system, I think it's safe to say that what we have is global, or indeed, solar warming- but this notion that the change we're experiencing is man made, and the insistence on purveying that- reminds me of the mentality that prompted the backlash to heliocentrism in the 1500s.

Re:Pollution/Habitat loss, not global warming! (1)

it_begins (1227690) | more than 5 years ago | (#25609113)

Not that I disagree with your ideas, but I think "The truth" prompted a backlash.

posted by Ptolemy was right!

Re:Pollution/Habitat loss, not global warming! (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 5 years ago | (#25609251)

Yeah, NASA keeps all that contrary data locked up in a vault, it's the same one they use to house the alien bodies from the area 51 crash and ET's phone from the 80's.

Re:Pollution/Habitat loss, not global warming! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25609105)

That's simply not true. Of course CO2 is connected to temperature differences... And of course we affected the natural fluctuations of CO2 in the atmosphere. And that's where global warming comes into play.

GW is a wellknown problem and discussed by scientists all over the world. I hardly can believe that these men and women are just trying to waste some time...

Re:Pollution/Habitat loss, not global warming! (2, Interesting)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 5 years ago | (#25609215)

"Duh, it's SOLAR OUTPUT that determines temps."

Can someone explain how the GP's ignorance [wikipedia.org] could possibly be considered insightful? Or at least tell me how such mind-boggling ignorance is different to that displayed by creationists and flat-earthers.

"Gaia-worship"

"Gaia" is sometimes seen as a god by the fanatics on both sides of the pro/anti environment 'wedge'. However the word/concept is a synonym for "biosphere" and was coined by "the father of Earth Science" James Lovelock. It posits that the biosphere can be considered as a single organisim (ie: a unique organic system fed by energy from the Sun), it has absolutely nothing to do with projecting human/spiritual qualities onto said organic system.

Pffft... (1)

JRHelgeson (576325) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608737)

So, pools of water didn't dry up prior to global warming? Frogs and salamanders didn't die prior to all this? Is there any animal population from humans to flies that have not gone through expansion and contraction?

Re:Pffft... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25608851)

Expansion is what is causing the contraction of numbers in Yellowstone. Yellowstone itself is a super volcano and its magma has been pushing the surface up for a very long time, heating the ground, air and water around it. They have literally found fish cooked in the water around the park in recent years and not geyser water. Trees have died after having their roots cooked. The heat from the rising magma there far exceeds anything global warming could do in that vicinity. If it ever erupts again there will likely be widespread destruction from the eruption followed by some global cooling.

Yellowstone would not be a good example to use when blaming global warming for dried up pools there, though perhaps not totally unrelated. TFA used it for an example of a location with dead salamanders etc in dried out pools without mentioning the more likely cause being the super volcano heating everything above it, very poor form indeed.

Re:Pffft... (3, Insightful)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608985)

People die of natural causes all the time, therefore murder never happens, right? The overwhelming scientific consensus it that the warming is proceeding much faster than in the past and that this caused at least in part by human activity. If you have strong evidence to the contrary please contact your local oil company, they will be only too happy to help you get it published.

Somehow (1)

Forty Two Tenfold (1134125) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608743)

I thought about X-COM Terror From the Deep. First Rosewell, then we sent probes to Mars. Now there is Gwoba Woba and methane starts coming out from the ocean bed. With the increased drilling for fossil fuels we might hit some nasty water creatures. And they might be mad the shrooms are killing the little amphibian overlord ambassadors on the surface.

Ok. Nevermind. Need some sleep.

Re:Somehow (1)

grim-one (1312413) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608857)

I'd be more worried about happening upon the children of Dagon or Cthulu personally...

I have seen the future... (3, Funny)

AmazingRuss (555076) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608757)

...and it is filled with concrete and hairless apes.

Re:I have seen the future... (0)

Plutonite (999141) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608893)

I have a very hairy chest you insensitive Caucasian clod!

Re:I have seen the future... (4, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 5 years ago | (#25609095)

[concrete and hairless apes] I have a very hairy chest you insensitive Caucasian clod!

No kidding. I once compared my arm to some Orangutans at the zoo, and dammit, I'm hairier.
       

Re:I have seen the future... (2, Funny)

n3tcat (664243) | more than 5 years ago | (#25609037)

Yeah, I've visited the White House before too.

Re:I have seen the future... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25609061)

...and it is filled with concrete and hairless apes.

Sounds like you haven't been to New York City yet.
Am I right?

I have seen a little farther... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25609067)

I see the concrete, but where are these apes you speak of? Place is deserted...

Vision shall come to you in time, grasshopper. (1)

RudeIota (1131331) | more than 5 years ago | (#25609143)

They are in the concrete...

Re:Vision shall come to you in time, grasshopper. (1)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 5 years ago | (#25609269)

I prefer in the silicon myself, but mayhaps we have both been reading too much Kurzweil.

Well, we act as though we are above nature (1, Insightful)

taucross (1330311) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608771)

so let's find out.

1/3 of Amphibians are Dying? (1)

mathx314 (1365325) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608773)

I take it the rest are immortal.

Re:1/3 of Amphibians are Dying? (1)

stonefoz (901011) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608887)

Yes, zombie salamanders are running a muck in our national forest, we must act quickly to stop their plans to accelerate Global Warming. No, I didn't read the article.

That doesn't make any sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25608793)

"... amphibians are the first to respond to environmental changes, thanks to their sensitivity to both air and water."

What's the point of evolving amphibious capability if not for greater environmental tolerance?

Re:That doesn't make any sense (4, Insightful)

maglor_83 (856254) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608885)

What's the point of evolving amphibious capability if not for greater environmental tolerance?

Who said evolution has to make sense?

Re:That doesn't make any sense (1)

dnwq (910646) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608889)

Amphibians require both land and water. They can't live in the middle of freshwater lakes and they can't live further inland where it's dry. This limits their choice of environments.

Never mind the bizarre comment about amphibian evolution, anyway.

Correlation does not imply causation... (5, Insightful)

penguin_dance (536599) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608797)

Biologists at the University of California, San Diego, have shown that amphibians are the first to respond to environmental changes, thanks to their sensitivity to both air and water.

So maybe we're seeing why the dinosaurs died out. They were too sensitive to environment change. They couldn't adapt to the changes in climate and died.

The article starts out blaming man and herbicides, but then has to conclude that even areas free from herbicides, such as national parks "provide no refuge." So that is blamed on global warming (no doubt man-made), causing the ponds to dry out. Neither of these are supplemented with facts, but is all speculative. Frogs and salamanders are dying, so we must be causing it.

Even though we may want to, there is no way we can save every species from extinction. We talk time and again about survival of the fittest in science class, yet we can't seem to acknowledge that species must adapt or die. Animal species that are hardy will thrive. Those who are not will not. We could have the perfect ecosystem for frogs and salamanders, and that would threaten some other species that found the weather too damp or warm to thrive. We blame ourselves for everything, when in fact there's no evidence that, if we all vanished tomorrow, animals wouldn't continue to die out as they always have.

Re:Correlation does not imply causation... (1)

Transcendz (955938) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608875)

Your logic is flawed : dinosaurs died of environmental conditions that noone was able to change. Current global climate change exists because of our selfish and blind activity, and this is something we CAN change. If I take your logic, many humans died at Tchernobyl, due to a great sensitivity to radiations. Should we say, then, that we should have done nothing to protect these people ? BTW, doing nothing for our environment seems more and more dangerous for our proper survival (bees, mammals, trees, oceans, etc...). Do you have childs and think about their future ?

Re:Correlation does not imply causation... (1)

Chazerizer (934553) | more than 5 years ago | (#25609027)

I do love the people that miss the point entirely. No one argues that the earth is getting warmer. What the point originally trying to made here is that species go extinct, whether or not we have anything to do with it. Giant reptiles were an evolutionary dead end, and eventually, they all went away. Who are we to say that amphibians also don't represent some kind of evolutionary cul-de-sac? The larger point of "should we care?" is a somewhat different point. These small creatures fill some niche in the ecosystem certainly, but beyond that it is sentimental foolishness to assume that because something is alive while human beings are on the planet makes it somehow precious. Something will fill the roll in the ecosystem, and the planet will move on. Finally, the comparison to Chernobyl is just kind of a jerk move. It's kind of like saying that Jews died in the holocaust because they were sensitive to Hitler. Or that people in the world trade tower were sensitive to falling from great heights. Kind of a jerk move.

Re:Correlation does not imply causation... (1)

it_begins (1227690) | more than 5 years ago | (#25609139)

I'll argue that is earth is getting cooler, at least the last 18 months, and I can pick any period I want to illustrate my point.

I even have a graph of temperatures shaped like an upside down hockey stick to prove it.

Re:Correlation does not imply causation... (2, Insightful)

DiegoBravo (324012) | more than 5 years ago | (#25609155)

If humans could live for a dozen of million of years, maybe it could be normal to see 1/3 of a big subset of the species disappearing because of natural selection as you point, but for our minuscule time lapse it is a total artificial catastrophe.

Re:Correlation does not imply causation... (5, Insightful)

AaronLawrence (600990) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608901)

If we cause the climate and environment to change too quickly, no species gets a chance to adapt. It takes at least thousands, probably millions of years for species to actually adapt.

So, it's more likely we will kill off almost all species leaving just the small number that by sheer luck can cope with widely diverse conditions... like cockroaches.

I don't see what there is to argue about. Clearly, species are going extinct in great numbers, it's largely due to us, and most species are not adapting.

Re:Correlation does not imply causation... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25608907)

If the die-offs of amphibians like salamanders and frogs indicate trouble ahead for mammals, as a mammal I feel it's important to pay attention to what's going on.

It's not about blame, it's about survival. You seem to think that we humans are above that - the causers, not the victims. I'm not really that interested in vanishing tomorrow, frankly, so maybe it's worth exploring how we can keep that from happening.

Indeed (5, Insightful)

copponex (13876) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608911)

Let's say you had a group of tool wielding apes who had advanced to such a high level of technology that their activities changed the environment, and upset millions of years of evolution and balance. Despite detecting this early on, they failed to adapt the way the transport themselves, the amount of natural resources they needlessly consume, and did nothing to change course.

Let's say those apes did not survive the correction that the environment made to re-establish equilibrium. Wouldn't that be a tragedy.

You can make all the excuses you want for yourself, but your children don't exist on rhetoric, they exist on planet earth. If you're even willing to take a chance on continuing the path that has led to the decline of every single system of life on earth since the industrial revolution, you're mad, or a fool, or both.

The epidemic of cancer is certainly proof that something that we are doing to the planet it making it and us very ill, let alone the undeniable evidence, built up over the last fifty years, that wherever industrial developments are, vibrant ecosystems are not.

Re:Indeed (0, Offtopic)

it_begins (1227690) | more than 5 years ago | (#25609195)

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky

I would rather fly in an airplane built by a "tyranical" corporation than one built by the "democratic" government.

Re:Indeed (1)

caitsith01 (606117) | more than 5 years ago | (#25609261)

The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky

I would rather fly in an airplane built by a "tyranical" corporation than one built by the "democratic" government.

Yes, but would you rather let each airline regulate airline safety, or let the inefficient ol' democratic government stick it's oar in?

Re:Indeed (0, Redundant)

caitsith01 (606117) | more than 5 years ago | (#25609315)

its not it's... grrrr

Re:Indeed (1)

copponex (13876) | more than 5 years ago | (#25609335)

Oh... you mean airplanes built with advanced technology which was developed with public money, under the banner of national defense?

Lockheed Martin, year 2007, received 33 billion dollars in contracts from the US government. (FYI, we spend 90 billion on the entire Department of Education. So there's an indication of priorities...) Every other private corporation that has developed radically new technology is pretty much the same - follow the money, and you end up at the DoD, or a public university, or some grant by the Department of Energy. But I understand if you don't... it would shatter your preconceived and anecdotal belief system that has nothing to do with reality.

Re:Correlation does not imply causation... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25608917)

It's ok for species to die, but only at a rate comparable to the rate at which new species of similar complexity are being created. If species die at a higher rate then life on Earth is headed to oblivion.

Re:Correlation does not imply causation... (4, Insightful)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 5 years ago | (#25609069)

We blame ourselves for everything, when in fact there's no evidence that, if we all vanished tomorrow, animals wouldn't continue to die out as they always have..

No, but there is evidence that since humans came to the scene, and especially since the industrial age, the species are going extinct at a rate from 100s to 1000s of times greater than before.

Re:Correlation does not imply causation... (1)

cryptoluddite (658517) | more than 5 years ago | (#25609151)

Correlation doesn't prove causation, but it most certainly does imply causation.

In this case, our world ecosystem is clearly screwed up in any number of ways because of our actions. Also, amphibians are dying out. It's a pretty good bet we're the cause.

Re:Correlation does not imply causation... (4, Funny)

cryptoluddite (658517) | more than 5 years ago | (#25609197)

We talk time and again about survival of the fittest in science class, yet we can't seem to acknowledge that species must adapt or die. Animal species that are hardy will thrive.

Also, you know what the problem with this is? The ones that are going to survive aren't going to be cute cuddly little puppy dogs. They're going to be cockroaches that can see heat and that shoot molecular acid on you while you're sleeping. They're going to be bird-eating spiders. Octopi that walk on land and reshape/recolor themselves to look like a tree or boulder... until they pounce and eat you.

You know, basically we'll all be living in Australia.

Re:Correlation does not imply causation... (2, Insightful)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 5 years ago | (#25609241)

The article starts out blaming man and herbicides, but then has to conclude that even areas free from herbicides, such as national parks "provide no refuge."

What areas free from pesticides? Maybe you didn't read the article:

"Atrazine is one of the more mobile and persistent pesticides being widely applied. In fact, residues have been found in remote, nonagricultural areas, such as the poles."

Places that are "protected from pollution" are not free of it. You'd be surprised just how much pollution there is in national parks.

So that is blamed on global warming (no doubt man-made), causing the ponds to dry out. Neither of these are supplemented with facts, but is all speculative. Frogs and salamanders are dying, so we must be causing it.

Two problems with these statements:

1) A problem may have multiple causes.

It's a widespread mental disease of today that people demand that experts must find THE source of the problem and fix IT. The three problems identified in the article are all major, separate contributors to amphibian decline. Each one may affect different species in different proportions. Fixing one will not solve the problem for all species, but it is not pointless for the species that it will save. (They do leave out habitat destruction, though.)

2) What do you mean "all speculative" and "not supplemented with facts?"

For crying out loud, the article references specific scientific studies. I decided to go searching for them:

Personally, I would like to have seen links to those studies in the article, but what more would you like to see? What is your standard for "speculation" v. "facts?"

We could have the perfect ecosystem for frogs and salamanders, and that would threaten some other species that found the weather too damp or warm to thrive. We blame ourselves for everything, when in fact there's no evidence that, if we all vanished tomorrow, animals wouldn't continue to die out as they always have.

Of course, they will continue dying out. That's nature. The issue is that they'll die out *much slower* than we're *currently* killing them off, and new species will evolve to fill the gaps. If you want to know what environment would be perfect for the frogs and salamanders, the answer would be the one they evolved to be adapted to. We're changing the world far faster than evolution can keep up.

The fundamental problem with this (4, Insightful)

caitsith01 (606117) | more than 5 years ago | (#25609309)

Even though we may want to, there is no way we can save every species from extinction. We talk time and again about survival of the fittest in science class, yet we can't seem to acknowledge that species must adapt or die. Animal species that are hardy will thrive. Those who are not will not.

The problem with this type of reasoning is that we have evolved to a stage where we can "beat" any other species. Human-level intelligence has transformed evolutionary competition into a straight out massacre. We also have the ability to change the environment in ways which are effectively catacylsmic from the point of view of evolution - if you radically alter the environment over the course of a few decades or even centuries, then there is nowhere near enough time for a typical vertebrate to adapt via natural selection to a hostile environment.

If we are indeed affecting the climate, as seems likely, then I find it plausible to think that we could quite easily end up wiping out most species on earth, save for a few super-hardy ones. Unfortunately we will probably survive ourselves, which hardly seems fair. If you want to compete until the end, I hope you like the sound of a future filled with cockroaches, feral cats, rabbits, rats and flies because those are the types of animals which will thrive in a man made environmental apocalypse.

I would like to think that if we are intelligent enough to realise that we have the power to exterminate the other varieties of life on earth, then we are also intelligent enough to realise why we shouldn't (including both cold rational reasons and aesthetic/moral reasons).

Do you really believe that it is ok on any level if, say, every last tiger dies as a result of human impact on the environment? What if we go out and shoot them all? Because we could, and it sounds like you're saying that would be good and proper, or at least 'evolutionarily correct' in some way.

Global warming and not disease huh? (3, Informative)

GiovanniZero (1006365) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608801)

http://news.mongabay.com/2008/1012-frogs.html [mongabay.com] Strange, and I thought the big threat was coming from the fungi that are devastating species. Good thing they tied the threat to global warming, now we can all do something about it! ::smirk::

Re:Global warming and not disease huh? (1, Insightful)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608951)

This is the kind of ignorance that will kill us. Just so you know, the incidence of disease is not independent of climate.

From the article you linked. (4, Insightful)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 5 years ago | (#25609019)

But even the containment of Chytrid might not be enough to save amphibians, which face a barrage of other threats including pollution, the introduction of alien species, habitat destruction, over-collection, and climate change.

Gosh, I guess we shouldn't worry at all then! I mean, if Chytrid is screwing them over, it's not like we should bother with climate change. I mean, why put out a cancer patient on fire? The cancer's going to kill 'em anyway.

Its not global warming, its a new fungus. (3, Informative)

catmistake (814204) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608839)

EXTINCTION CRISIS FOR AMPHIBIANS [sfgate.com]

this time its not our fault... but maybe we can help them (or... is it not nice to fool with Mother Nature?)

Re:Its not global warming, its a new fungus. (1)

AaronLawrence (600990) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608921)

From your own article
"While the spread of the disease is a major new threat to all amphibians, the scientists reported that the greatest current danger to every threatened species is still the loss of habitat as cities and suburbs expand, streams and ponds and wetlands give way to the needs of farmers, and forest lands are destroyed. "

It's both! (5, Insightful)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 5 years ago | (#25609073)

In addition to what the previous person responding to your post mentioned, it's worth noting that some researchers think the most likely origin of the spread of this fungus to a wide range of habitats is due to widespread use of a research frog species from Africa, though there is some evidence that puts some doubt on that. [cornell.edu]

Another prominent theory is mentioned in the article you linked:

In Costa Rica's Cloud Forest Preserve of the Tropical Science Center, biologist J. Alan Pounds and his colleagues recently reported the total disappearance of the Monteverde harlequin frog, along with one golden toad species -- caused, he said in the journal Nature, by their increased susceptibility to chytrid disease as rising global temperatures have weakened their ability to resist the toxin.

In other words, chytrid is likely to either be an invasive species introduced around the world by human actions or a species that amphibians were previously able to resist before rising temperatures weakened them. Or both. Either way, saying "this time its [sic] not our fault" is disingenuous at best.

Mod Parent up! He is right... (5, Informative)

Tranvisor (250175) | more than 5 years ago | (#25609225)

The cause of worldwide amphibian population declines is the Chytrid Fungus. However many do think that global warming is making the situation happen faster and to a more serious degree. Here is some quick links if you want to read more on the subject ...

From Nat Geo:

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/04/080401-frog-fungus.html [nationalgeographic.com]

The NY Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/04/science/04frog.html [nytimes.com]

The CDC:

http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/EID/vol10no12/03-0804.htm [cdc.gov]

Something missing from the story? (1)

it_begins (1227690) | more than 5 years ago | (#25608947)

I remember in an episode of X-Files where Mulder talks about a worldwide dying off of frogs, and it only started just happening - most likely due to the ravages of mankind's lifestyle. That much is true.

What was never addressed was the fact that the amphibians were dying off because researchers (who were trying to protect and count them) carried microbial parasites from one frog hole to the next. They would return to a hole a while later and presto many dead frogs.

End of the story:

*If you are a frog counting biologist - just jump to the immediate conclusion man is bad. End story. No need to go on.

*If you are a normal person - "wait a second, isn't there more to the story"? FCB - "no there isn't" NP - "but I thought YOU were actually responsible for ..." FCB "The story is over, discussion is over, no more questions, man is bad - period"

Amphibians (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25609007)

The responses here are infuriating.. Why are nerds so insensitive? How can paving 25% of the land and doubling population multiple times not be pushing other species off the edge? Dont we produce tens of thousands of industrial chemical in huge volumes that had not been in the environment previously? The list of 'mistakes' by industrialists, not to mention the by-products of our massive wars, is too long to list. ugh.. listen up

Facts not feelings (1)

it_begins (1227690) | more than 5 years ago | (#25609283)

You must not be a "nerd", or you might be able to do sophisticated math like this:

Even in the most populous state (California), only 800 square miles are developed out of 155,000. Gee, that leaves us with a mere 99% left to work with. What will we do?

We nerds are insensitive - especially to people who believe any crap they want (25%, hah!) because they want to believe it, and who can't do basic fact checking and math. Most of the environmental movement is based on "feeling" and not facts. When you let anecdotes dictate your philosophy, you are doomed to live in unhappiness.

Impressive! (3, Interesting)

narcberry (1328009) | more than 5 years ago | (#25609009)

Is there anything global warming can't do?

Re:Impressive! (1)

gooman (709147) | more than 5 years ago | (#25609133)

Depends on what you want to tax.

Re:Impressive! (1)

it_begins (1227690) | more than 5 years ago | (#25609165)

What we need to start asking ourselves is "What would global warming do?"

Question (2, Interesting)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 5 years ago | (#25609023)

How did amphibians survive the much greater temperature swings in Earth's history? They've been around for a long time. Were there partial extinctions and then they rediversified?

I don't need study to tell me that (1)

SupremoMan (912191) | more than 5 years ago | (#25609085)

Humans are fucking with stuff they don't understand. Raise Earth's average temperature 1 degree, what's the big deal right? 3-4 degrees won't hurt. People have no fucking clue what it will do, and that's why they shouldn't fuck with it.

aww, just our luck that... (0)

Digitus1337 (671442) | more than 5 years ago | (#25609093)

It's the good 1/3!

the Fierce Creatures effect (3, Insightful)

Fractal Dice (696349) | more than 5 years ago | (#25609115)

I'm a pretty green-leaning person and the last thing I want to do is deprive people who have devoted the best years of their life studying herpetology from getting grant money to make a living, but I think amphibian decline research is bordering dangerously on public relations BS pseudo-science.

Amphibian populations are notoriously hard to measure accurately. Populations rise and fall wildly. When you go out to do your first sample, if you're not careful there's often a heavy bias to picking the area with the highest population, so when you do your followup study and that pond has returned to a normal population, it looks like you've detected population decline. That's not to say amphibians aren't wildly vulnerable to all the usual things humans do to an environment: drain it, pave it, spray it. But rather than get half the environmentally-sensitive population panicking randomly about crisis, I'd rather see 1% or 0.1% of the population deeply educated in field biology as serious hobby, keeping long-term consistent records of observations and measurements.

( by the way, the best way to completely destroy a long term population study of a pond is to dredge it and add fish to make it "look more natural" )

Re:the Fierce Creatures effect (1)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 5 years ago | (#25609257)

Amphibian populations are notoriously hard to measure accurately. Populations rise and fall wildly. When you go out to do your first sample, if you're not careful there's often a heavy bias to picking the area with the highest population, so when you do your followup study and that pond has returned to a normal population, it looks like you've detected population decline.

See, now that's the first intelligent argument I've seen for not worrying as much about the problem. Is there any way to get a more accurate sampling of amphibian species, and is there a way to control for the noise, and is there any reason to presume your more likely to overcount population initially than undercount it?

As Kosh might say... (1)

Fleeced (585092) | more than 5 years ago | (#25609127)

"They are alone. They are a dying species. We should let them pass"

Not just amphibians... (1)

Karellen (104380) | more than 5 years ago | (#25609183)

They're only a part of the Holocene extinction event [wikipedia.org] .

the easy solution: spread to areas they can thrive (1)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 5 years ago | (#25609287)

Send some of our remaining frogs to Australia, say, in exchange for some Koalas, maybe. I'm sure nothing could possibly go wrong.

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