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Frogs may be able to co-exist with chytrid fungus - study
“Our results are really promising because they lead us to conclude that the El Copé frog community is stabilizing and not drifting to extinction.”

Scientists say infected and uninfected frogs survive at nearly the same rates 

Tropical frogs may have developed the ability to coexist with deadly chytrid fungus, a new study suggests.

In just a few months in 2004, around half the frog species native to El Copé, Panama, went locally extinct due to Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis.

However, scientists now believe that the remaining species may have developed the ability to survive alongside the fungus.

A field study led by the University of Maryland from 2010-2014 suggests that frogs infected with the fungus survived at a nearly identical rate to uninfected frogs.

Scientists say that although there were lots of infected individuals, around 98 per cent of them are infected at very low levels.

It is thought that the frog population stabilised through ‘eco-evolutionary rescue’, whereby some species evolved tolerance to the fungus, while other highly infectious species died off and stopped contributing to the pathogen’s spread. Scientists said the fungus may also have become less virulent.

“Our results are really promising because they lead us to conclude that the El Copé frog community is stabilizing and not drifting to extinction,” said lead author Graziella DiRenzo. “That’s a big concern with chytrid worldwide. Before this study, we didn’t know a lot about the communities that remain after an outbreak. In some areas, it’s still a black box.”

Researchers say it is likely that other hard-hit frog communities elsewhere in the world may have undergone similar adaptations. 

Image © Brian Gratwicke
 

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Report: A third of Welsh birds are in decline

News Story 1
 A report by RSPB Cymru and partnering ornithology organisations has revealed that a third of bird species in Wales are in significant decline.

90 per cent of Wales is farmed and there is now pressure to implement new land management policies that will aid in nature restoration.

Patrick Lindley, Maritime Ornithologist for Natural Resources Wales, commented: “The problems that confront UK birds, whether they are breeding or non-breeding, are pressure and threats that confront entire ecosystems.

“Birds are a great indicator to the health of our environment. The continued population declines of birds of farmed, woodland and upland habitats suggest there are large geographic themes that are having a detrimental impact.”  

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News Shorts
BSAVA announces winner of 2019 Bourgelat Award

One of the world’s leading small animal medicine specialists is set to receive the prestigious Bourgelat Award at BSAVA Congress 2019.

Professor Mike Herrtage will be recognised for his major research into metabolic and endocrine diseases, including diabetes mellitus, Cushing’s disease and Addison’s disease.

During his career, Prof Herrtage has co-authored more than 100 scientific papers and written more than 200 other publications such as abstracts, books and chapters. He also continues to be a source of inspiration for thousands of undergraduate and postgraduate veterinary surgeons.