By Stephen Leahy*
SAN DIEGO, U.S., Feb 21 (Tierramérica) – Mesoamerica’s salamanders appear to be joining the global decline in amphibian species, like frogs, adding to the evidence of ecological change around the planet.
“What’s happening to salamanders and other amphibians may be a strong lesson for humans,” says lead researcher David Wake, of the University of California at Berkeley.
There are global changes that are altering ecosystems and disease patterns, thus creating new elements of biological pressure, he said.
Wake and his colleagues have discovered that several salamander species have vanished or have become very rare since the 1970s in closely studied areas in western Guatemala and the southern Mexican state of Chiapas. These findings were published last week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Climate change and disease are likely causing the declines but scientists do not know why, Wake, one of the world’s salamander experts, told Tierramérica.
“We don’t know what the impacts are on local ecosystems, but they could be significant,” he said. Continue reading