Bonnie GleasonEcology October 20,1995
One example that can affect mankind if not foretell it, that seems small and insignificant, is the disappearance of frogs. In 1970, a science students was studying frogs. While collecting information out in a field, she had to take care not to step on any of the frogs that she was studying as there was so many of them. Two years later, all she encountered were a few dying frogs with puffy red legs. The frogs’ immune systems had been destroyed and they fell sick easily. In 1979, not a frog was to be found in the once abundant habitat. Scientists were puzzled because the area was in the wilderness, away from development, housing, and all other forms of destruction. But, this problem was not just local. A worldwide decrease has been discovered as the frogs are becoming harder and harder to find. Besides obvious reasons such as development, a true explanation cannot be found. Some scientists speculate that the frogs are delivering a message to humans about the environment. The message is a warning about the decline of biodiversity and disintegration of the total environment. But, these frogs are disappearing from even the most remote and pristine places on earth. Scientists are worried because frogs are the ideal creature to reflect the health of the environment. Frogs move through their life cycles from water to land, from plant-eater to insect-eater, covered by only a thin, permeable layer of skin that offers no protection from the elements or predators. They represent the proverbial canary in the coal mine. These fragile organisms create a paradox as they have survived over 200 million years while others such as the dinosaurs and wholly mammoths. They are found throughout the world and exist in all types of climates. Because the frogs are hardy, the changes in the environment may be more drastic than they appear. A task force has been formed to further investigate these disappearances. The Declining Amphibians Task Force has more than 1000 researchers in 40 countries. The members of the task force fear that the frogs will not be save. It is a commercial game of money. If even the cute animals cannot be saved, the chances of people falling in love with frogs is very slim. But, it is more than saving an organism that people like to have around or
For example, frogs give insight to what the future environment holds for humans. Among the hardest-hit frogs are those that live at high altitudes or near the ozone holes. These frogs have already developed protection from the harmful radiation from the sun. Some lay black eggs and have black body parts. The dark pigment prevents burn as it absorbs the necessary heat (Yoffe 65). Not surprisingly, human skin-cancer rates are rising all around the world as well. In order to learn from their environment, human must observe their surroundings and not take nature for granted. When species are lost, other changes occur. If frogs come completely extinct or just continue heading in the same direction that they are now, insects will become more abundant as their predator would be gone.
In countries such as Bangladash where frog populations are almost obsolete, the number of mosquitoes has increased along with the number of cases of malaria. Other species have impacts just as strong. There is no way of telling just how many more species must become extinct before irreversible damage occurs. Whether the frogs eventually increase their number is dependent on whether or not human decide to follow through with their words and take action. The frogs send out a message and it is up to the people as to whether they heed the warning or not (Yoffe 76).
Bonnie GleasonEcology October 20,1995