Sample Essay on Amphibian Populations Decline

Sample Essay on Amphibian Populations Decline

The decline of amphibian populations which includes mass localized extinctions and population crashes have been noted since the 1980s in all parts of the globe. The declines are perceived as the most critical threat to global biodiversity. At least one third of the world’s over 6,800 amphibian species are threatened with extinction or they are already extinct. This Sample Essay on Amphibian Populations Decline will give more insight.

There are several factors believed to be cause of this decline and they include diseases, destruction of natural habitat and modification, pollution, introduced species, ultraviolet –B radiation, pesticide use and exploitation. Though these factors are some, come of the causes of amphibian decline are poorly understood and the topic is a subject of ongoing research.

Calculations which are based on extinction rate suggest the current amphibians’ extinction rate could be two hundred and one times higher than background extinction rate. The estimate goes up to 25,000 to 45,000 times if endangered species are to be included in this computation.

In the last 3 decades, the decline in amphibian populations (the class of organisms which includes toads, caecilians, frogs, salamanders and newts) has been reported worldwide. The first assessment of amphibian populations was carried out in 2004 and the results published in what was known as the Global Amphibian Assessment. The results indicated that:

  • 35 percent of the species in the world were threatened
  • 43 percent were experiencing some kind of population decrease
  • Between nine and twenty two species have become extinct since 1980.

The IUCN Red List which incorporates Global Amphibian Assessment as of 2010 lists that 486 amphibian species are critically endangered. Despite the high risks faced by this group, the public is still oblivious and indifferent to the fact as well as other environmental problems. Consequently, this poses a serious threat or problem for the environmental and conservationist workers alike.

Climate change, habitat loss and disease are attributed as the factors responsible for the decline of amphibian populations in the recent years. Declines have especially been noted in Central America, eastern Australia, United States, Fiji and South America. While human activity has contributed greatly to loss of the world’s biodiversity, it appears that amphibians are also suffering great effects when compared to other organism classes.

Amphibians have 2 staged life cycles which consist of both terrestrial (adult) and aquatic (larvae) phases they are sensitive to both environmental and terrestrial aquatic environmental effects. Their skins are also highly permeable which means they are also susceptible to environmental toxins as compared to other organisms like mammals or birds.

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