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Indigenous Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog

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Indigenous Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog
October 06, 2010 07:50PM
Toiling to Save a Threatened Frog
By ERICA REX
Published: October 4, 2010

SEQUOIA AND KINGS CANYON NATIONAL PARKS, Calif. — From the summit of Bishop Pass in the Sierra Nevada, elevation 11,972 feet, all you can see are miles of granite peaks against the sky. There is no traffic and no pollution. The natural world seems pure and unspoiled.

But appearances are deceiving. Over the last decade, disaster has struck in the form of chytridiomycosis, or chytrid, a deadly fungal disease that has driven at least 200 of the world’s 6,700 amphibian species to extinction. One third of the world’s frogs, toads and salamanders are threatened. Forty percent are declining. Chytrid’s arrival has laid waste to the indigenous Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog, Rana sierrae.

In Dusy Basin, a remote glacial valley in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks a few miles west of Bishop Pass, Vance Vredenburg, a professor of biology at San Francisco State University, is conducting an experiment he hopes will help preserve what remains of these once abundant creatures. Dr. Vredenburg and his colleagues are inoculating chytrid-infected frogs with a bacteria, Janthinobacterium lividum, or J. liv, that does not prevent infection with chytrid but can help frogs survive.

Dr. Vredenburg, Reid Harris of James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va., and colleagues found the symbiotic bacteria on several amphibian species. Lab experiments last year showed that J. liv produces a metabolite, violacein, that is toxic to the chytrid fungus. Dr. Vredenburg wants to see how effective the treatment will be in the wild.


http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/05/science/05frog.html?scp=1&sq=frogs&st=cse
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