|MadSci Network: Environment|
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.
Try the links in the MadSci Library for more information on Environment .