MadSci Network: Environment

Re: can you really tell the health of a habitat by the heath of the frogs

Date: Wed Sep 20 09:04:09 2000
Posted By: Tony Gaglierd, Faculty, Natural Science and Engineering Technology, Point Park College
Area of science: Environment
ID: 968891269.En

Chris:  you asked “can you really tell the health of a habitat by the 
health of the frogs?”

Amphibians are a class of animals that includes frogs. Amphibians, 
including frogs, may be especially important as indicators of 
environmental health. Because these species have both aquatic and 
terrestrial life styles, they can signify changes in both types of 
environments. In addition because they breathe through their skin, they 
may be more susceptible to pollution than other species, and provide early 
warning of serious problems.

Amphibians including frogs are declining and there is good reason for 
thinking that this is especially significant.As we modify our environment, 
we alter or destroy the habitats of other species,which leads directly and 
indirectly to their disappearance.

We have depleted the atmospheric ozone layer that protects all creatures 
on the planet from the effects of ultra violet radiation form the sun. 
Pollutants are accumulating in natural systems on which other species
and we depend. We may be altering our weather patterns.

Such fundamental changes are certain to have an effect on the entire 
ecosystem. It is possible amphibians, including frogs, are responding 
adversely to these changes. They are showing us how our activities are
affecting our shared ecosystem.

We have become one of the most powerful species on the planet, capable of 
shaping the land and altering the very atmosphere itself. We have a moral and 
ethical responsibility to ALL the species we share the planet with, not 
just the dramatic, beautiful or useful ones, but even the tiny, ugly or those
far removed from our daily lives. If we continue as we are, some day we 
will have not just a Silent Spring but a Silent World.

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