Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Amphibian death spiral and the end of civilization

I apologise for the recent post shortage but I am down under on holiday at the moment. Even so, some stories cannot wait and those that are concerned with the end of the world get top priority.

It looks like "chytridiomycosis" could kill us all. The economics angle of this story is admittedly rather limited but I would guess that mass extinction would be a sell signal for shareholders.

Do Amphibian Deaths Signal the Coming of a Sixth Mass Extinction? [Treehugger]

If the rapidly depleting amphibian populations are any indication, we could be in for another mass extinction. That's the conclusion of a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which finds that humans are worsening the impacts of climate change and disease on frogs and their fellow amphibians -- to the point where they are vanishing at an unprecedented, alarming speed.

The fatal infectious disease in question, chytridiomycosis, is caused by an aquatic fungus that only targets amphibians and is able to jump from one species to the next; it is believed to have already wiped out over 200 species.


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