Frog Killer (2001)
Scientists around the world are joining forces to combat a deadly frog disease.
Frogs around the world are dying. Many Australian species have already become extinct and others are in danger. It is so serious that scientists from around the world are joining forces to find out why.
One of the main culprits discovered in Australia is a fungus called the Amphibian Chytrid Fungus. This is the normal skin of frog magnified thousands of times by an electron microscope. And this is the skin of a frog affected by the fungus.
Dr. Lee Berger from Australia’s science organisation, CSIRO, is working to find a solution.
“We think that because skin is so important to frogs, for both breathing and drinking water, that we think that the damage that the fungus does to the skin could be affecting the frogs’ ability to drink water and to breath and so they die from being suffocated”
The fungus has even been found in areas usually regarded as pristine, such as relatively untouched areas of tropical Queensland rainforest.
“We think that it could have been introduced to the area and that’s why it causes a high mortality rate, but we don’t know where it’s originated from or how it’s been spread.”
The fungus has so far infected 43 amphibian species, including 7 which are endangered. CSIRO scientists have begun trialing anti fungal drugs in a bid to stop the destruction.
Frogs play an important role in ecosystems and the danger to frogs is being seen as one of the most significant bio-diversity problems in the world.