October 04, 2013
Photo courtesy of DDauri Daniel D'Auria under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported.
Despite the surprising findings on Chlopyrifos, the researchers found no evidence that wood frog populations have gained resistance to the herbicide Roundup. The most common herbicide in the U.S., Roundup (Glyphosate), is a broad-spectrum pesticide used to suppress and kill weeds. In 2007, the U.S. agriculture sector used more than 180 million pounds of Roundup; more than 5 million pounds was used by residential home and garden users, and industry, commerce, and the government used more than 13 million pounds.
When asked why the wood frog evolved resistance to Chlopyrifos but not Round-up, Cothran told mongabay.com, "It could be that the herbicide is more broadly applied (e.g., outside of the agricultural sector) so that populations that were not near agriculture may have been exposed."
Photo courtesy W-van via a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported.
The study hints that while pesticides harm many non-target species such the wood frogs, some animals may be able to evolve resistance. This resistance could provide declining amphibian populations time as society works to find substitutes or alternative solutions to harmful pesticides.
Luckily, Dr. Cothran has further research planned: "Our lab is working on a number of projects centered on understanding how evolutionary responses in aquatic organisms (including amphibians) to pesticides affects the way ecosystems function."
CITATION: Cothran, R., Brown, J., Relyea, R., 2013. Proximity to agriculture is correlated with pesticide tolerance: evidence for the evolution of amphibian resistance to modern pesticides. Evolutionary Applications. p. 832-841.
Saviors or villains: controversy erupts as New Zealand plans to drop poison over Critically Endangered frog habitat
(04/10/2013) New Zealand's Department of Conservation (DOC) is facing a backlash over plans to aerially drop a controversial poison, known as 1080, over the habitat of two endangered, prehistoric, and truly bizarre frog species, Archey's and Hochsetter's frogs, on Mount Moehau. Used in New Zealand to kill populations of invasive mammals, such as rats and the Australian long-tailed possum, 1080 has become an increasingly emotive issue in New Zealand, not just splitting the government and environmentalists, but environmental groups among themselves. Critics allege that the poison, for which there is no antidote, decimates local animals as well as invasives, while proponents say the drops are the best way to control invasive mammals that kill endangered species like birds and frogs and may spread bovine tuberculosis (TB).
New poison dart frog discovered in 'Lost World'
(07/19/2013) Scientists have described a new species of poison dart frog after discovering it during a study to determine the impact of tourism on biodiversity in a tract of rainforest known as 'The Lost World' in Guyana.
Vocal-sac breeding frog possibly extinct
(07/02/2013) Somewhere in the wet pine forests of Chile, a male frog is gulping-up a bunch of eggs. No he's not eating them, he's just being a good dad. Darwin's frogs are known for their unique parenting-style: tadpoles are incubated in the vocal sac of the father. First recorded by Charles Darwin during his world famous voyage aboard the Beagle, the amphibians were common in the native Chilean pine forests until the last few decades. Now, scientists believe that one of the two species, the northern Darwin's frog (Rhinoderma rufum), may have vanished for good. And the other is hanging on by a thread.