ZSL on Radio 4: Amphibian Collapse?
Monday 9 June 2008
Listen out for two ZSL scientists on BBC Radio 4 at 9pm this evening. The show ‘Frontiers: Amphibian Collapse?’ recently followed their fieldwork in Italy.
Presenter Sue Broom joined the team, including ZSL’s Jon Bielby and Trent Garner, investigating how the chytrid fungus is affecting the Sardinian Brook Salamander (Euproctus platycephalus) population in the northern region of Limbara.
One third of amphibians globally are threatened with extinction. The chytrid fungus has been affecting species of frogs, newts and salamanders across the world all for some time, but it is now spreading into new areas.
The team first became aware of a potential problem in this region following reports of the fungus being found in this particular species of salamander.
Last year, the team received specimens with digits missing and skin ulceration - signs of the fungus and its related disease, chytridiomycosis. After confirming the disease, the team flew to Italy and joined forces with the Italian environmental charity Zirichiltaggi.
Their 10-day fieldtrip aimed to get a better idea of which species and what sites are currently affected in the region, whilst analysing amphibian population problems and deaths.
ZSL's Jon Bielby said: 'Sardinia's threatened amphibian species appear to be highly susceptible to chytridiomycosis.
'The disease has already caused huge population crashes and even species extinction in amphibians in other regions around the world, and unless we take action in the near future the amphibians of Sardinia could suffer the same fate.'
The BBC documentary of the work, part of a joint project between ZSL and Imperial College London, will be broadcast at 9pm tonight on Radio 4.