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
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New poison dart frog discovered in 'Lost World'
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Vocal-sac breeding frog possibly extinct
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