What frog science can teach us about global warming

A Frog Revival

From World Climate Report

About 15 to 20 years ago, folks began to notice problems in amphibian communities around the world. At first, physical deformities were being noticed and then large population declines were being documented.

The finger was initially pointed at the coal industry, with an idea that perhaps mercury was leading to the deformities. But this didn’t pan out. Next, farm practices came under fire, as excess fertilizer running off into farm ponds became the leading suspect. But that theory didn’t hold water either. Then, attention turned to the ozone hole, with the idea that increased ultraviolet radiation was killing the frogs. No luck there either.

Then came the Eureka moment—aha, it must be global warming!

This played to widespread audiences, received beaucoup media attention and, of course, found its way into Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth.

But, alas, this theory, too, wilted under the harsh glare of science, as new research has now pretty definitively linked an infection of the chytrid fungus to declines, and even local extinctions, of frog and toad species around the world.

Perhaps the biggest irony in all of this, is that while researchers fell all over themselves to link anthropogenic environmental impacts to the frog declines, turns out that as they traipsed through the woods and rainforests to study the frogs, the researchers themselves quite possibly helped spread the chytrid fungus to locations and populations where it had previously been absent.

Now a bit good—although hardly unexpected—news is coming out of the frog research studies. Some frog populations in various parts of the world are not only recovering, but also showing signs of increased resistance—gained through adaptation and/or evolution—to the chytrid fungus.

Thus opens a new chapter in the ongoing Disappearing Frog saga, and one that likely foretells of a hoppy ending.

The magazine New Scientist has an interesting article titled “Fungus out! The frog resistance is here” that ties together a growing number of research findings indicating that frog populations that once faced local extinction have been making a come back—even in the continued presence of the chytrid fungus.

New Scientist reports that Australian researchers are reporting that a variety of frog species from across the Land Down Under that were once devastated by chytrid infection are now re-establishing themselves in areas that they were wiped out and in some cases have even returned to numbers as large as they were prior to the chytrid outbreak.

Other researchers are finding, as reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Briggs et al., 2010), that frogs in the mountains of California that were once “driven virtually to extinction” are also making a recovery even though the chytrid fungus is still present. Some populations there have apparently developed the ability to survive in the presence of low-levels of the fungus.

Evidence of a developing resistance to the chytrid fungus has also been reported in a species of Australian frogs. A study published in the journal Diversity and Distributions (Woodhams et al., 2010) looked at populations of frogs which have recovered from a chytrid infection and found indications that natural selection may have led to more resistant populations and facilitated the recovery.

All this is not to say that amphibian populations across the world have made a full and complete recovery, but it is to say that there are encouraging signs that some populations are clawing their way back through adaptation and natural selection—precisely the way things are supposed to work.

And even though global warming is no longer considered to be the guilty party (of course, exonerated with much less fanfare than it was accused), the amphibian story does show the resiliency of nature—a resiliency that is grossly underplayed or even ignored in virtually all doom and gloom presentations of the impacts of environmental change.

Something that is worth keeping in mind.


Briggs, C. J., et al., 2010. Enzootic and epizootic dynamics of chytrid fungal pathogen of amphibians. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107, 9695-9700.

Woodhams, D.C., et al., 2010. Adaptations of skin peptide defenses and possible response to the amphibian chytrid fungus in populations of Australian green-eyed treefrogs, Litoria genimaculata. Diversity and Distributions, 16, 703-712.


Heh, guess who was pushing the alarm about AGW and frogs back then?

but wait, there’s more….

And you can find a boatload more with a Google search

Including one blog, way back then, who said “not so fast“.


    Frog Extinctions Linked to Global Warming



    Jan 12, 2006 The die-off of harlequin frog species in Central and South America is the result of a deadly fungus spurred by global warming, a new study



    Global Warming Tied To Extinction Of Frog Species – washingtonpost.com



    Jan 12, 2006 Rising temperatures are responsible for pushing dozens of frog species over the brink of extinction in the past three decades, according to

    www.washingtonpost.com › NationScienceSimilar


    Global Warming Is Killing Frogs And Salamanders In Yellowstone



    Oct 27, 2008 Frogs and salamanders, those amphibious bellwethers of environmental danger, are being killed in Yellowstone National Park.


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Fred from Canuckistan
December 13, 2010 5:07 pm

ya but, but, but, but, but . . . chytrid fungus is caused by Global Warming so there.
Na na na na nahhhhhhh na.

William Butler
December 13, 2010 5:12 pm

I’m curious why a charlatan like you keeps spewing moronic nonsense. Really, how is it possible? Are you being paid that much?
REPLY: I don’t get paid anything from anyone, other than what I get from Google ads, so the “big oil, big whatever” sponsor theory you are probably alluding to, like so many that fail before you, fails now.
I’m curious why a person like yourself can’t see the plain science in front of your face. And, the post is mostly from World Climate Report.
Go ahead, make my day. Tell us how you “know” it’s global warming killing the frogs. – Anthony

December 13, 2010 5:14 pm

No-one thought it was actually global warming killing jungle frogs. Half a degree on average in 50 years wipes out tropical species? It was never really a starter.
It was a nice drum to beat, because it drove along people interested in conservation. We all know the present has barely changed in terms of the range of temperatures.
The point of AGW panic is that our future is in jeopardy.

December 13, 2010 5:16 pm

Much like this (2007) article blaming the bee decline on global warming: http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article1045.html.
Proper scientific investigation shows otherwise…

December 13, 2010 5:19 pm

Thus opens a new chapter in the ongoing Disappearing Frog saga, and one that likely foretells of a hoppy ending….

I see what you did there …. 😉

December 13, 2010 5:25 pm

Is “hoppy ending” a bad pun or a typo?

December 13, 2010 5:25 pm

Progs lie about frogs.

Robert Wykoff
December 13, 2010 5:27 pm

I just love the cosmic irony of the very people that were clanging the alarm bells to the world, were the very source of the problem in the first place.

December 13, 2010 5:27 pm

“…Thus opens a new chapter in the ongoing Disappearing Frog saga, and one that likely foretells of a hoppy ending.”
No chytrid?

Mark Twang
December 13, 2010 5:33 pm

As I recall, the moonbat who shot up the Discovery Channel offices outside DC had (alongside a hatred of humans) a specific concern for “the froggies” (sic).
He got turned into a newt, though, and never got better.

Pat Moffitt
December 13, 2010 5:38 pm

Any bets that a natural cause for frog decline will result in a precipitous decline in grant opportunities? Its not the problem that’s important — its the cause.

Ed MacAulay
December 13, 2010 5:41 pm

I am sure glad the frogs didn’t all croak.

December 13, 2010 5:42 pm

I wondered where the frogs went.
An interesting side note is the implication that the scientists themselves had spread
the problem.
I wonder how many other problems are actually caused, or worsened, by the molestation of wildlife by curious grant-seekers ?

December 13, 2010 5:45 pm

“”and one that likely foretells of a hoppy ending.””

Jim Clarke
December 13, 2010 5:46 pm

When will environmentalists actually start to become environmentalists, instead of jack-booted thugs?

December 13, 2010 5:50 pm

Or could it be all frog croaking is a warning of the warming?

Eric Dailey
December 13, 2010 5:51 pm

Poor William Butler is so frustrated he must lash out with ad hominems. The last resort in a failed argument. He is probably real upset about all the cold and snow weather messing up the global warming. To bad.

December 13, 2010 5:54 pm

William Butler says: December 13, 2010 at 5:12 pm
I’m curious why a charlatan like you keeps spewing moronic nonsense. Really, how is it possible? Are you being paid that much?
William Butler. Can you be for real?

December 13, 2010 5:58 pm

My favorite in the wacko’s doing in the environment is the Sudden Oak Decline (Death) Syndrom – SODS. A fungus, brought in most likely by the same folks who were treating the frogs to a new threat. The fact that Marin County, CA was heavily hit, left a certain schadenfreude.

December 13, 2010 6:00 pm

A major factor affecting Sierra frog population, is the introduction of centrarchid gamefish. Many reported population declines that where blamed on pesticide in the days before the frog deformity were really caused by predation.
One thing I discovered when I was still wanting to become an ichthyologist, was that amongst those studying wildlife, the people studying amphibians, were the worst enviro-nuts.

December 13, 2010 6:01 pm

See there is untoad wisdom in studying frogs.

December 13, 2010 6:06 pm

Another point, the definition of what constitutes a species, is very loose when applied to amphibians. And the whole concept of “locally extinct” has no scientific validity.

December 13, 2010 6:06 pm

Well!….SOMEBODY was in denial:)

jack morrow
December 13, 2010 6:20 pm

Stupid scientists never learn. Even in the fifties we knew that disease was spread in chicken houses from one farm to another, so we kept out outsiders. So if they went from one frog pond to another without disinfecting themselves the they were “stupid scientists”! Case dismissed.

DD More
December 13, 2010 6:29 pm

Guess Freddy N. was right when he quoted “That which does not kill us makes us stronger. “

Carl Chapman
December 13, 2010 6:32 pm

I thought it was also related to using frogs to test for hormones in women’s urine, as a pregnancy test. Transporting frogs around the world spread the fungus. Is that correct?

December 13, 2010 6:33 pm

I was told the scientists were studying the fungus in their labs, on African clawed frogs, and that’s the way it was spread in the first place.
who knows – shrug

December 13, 2010 6:36 pm

Full circle:
Back around to the big toad Al Gore.
Your turn to loudly croak once more.

Bryn Thomas
December 13, 2010 6:44 pm

I can believe it. I am surrounded by tree frogs that keep me awake at night croaking at each other.

R. Shearer
December 13, 2010 7:03 pm

Frogs like the snow in the Midwest because it’s….knee deep.
Seriously, this link discusses the return of leopard frogs to the Great Sand Dunes National Park. http://www.gazette.com/articles/northern-103642-dunes-return.html

Frank K.
December 13, 2010 7:04 pm

It is my understanding that the climate scientists involved in the original frog study produced some video of their research…here it is…

Harold Pierce Jr
December 13, 2010 7:06 pm

Is the fungus killing off any cane toads in Oz? These critters are so poisonous even crocs won’t eat them.

December 13, 2010 7:06 pm

William Butler says:
December 13, 2010 at 5:12 pm

I’m curious why a charlatan like you keeps spewing moronic nonsense. Really, how is it possible? Are you being paid that much?

Right back atcha!
Modified slightly, however:
“I’m curious why you spew such moronic nonsense. Really, how is it possible? Are you that misled or just stupid?”
[ OK, you’ve each had “ONE” on the other. Now cool it. No food fights needed, OK? -MOD]

December 13, 2010 7:13 pm

And if anyone would like a follow-up on the deformities, turns out that wasn’t us either: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=parasites-or-pollution
ShrNfr says:
December 13, 2010 at 6:01 pm
See there is untoad wisdom in studying frogs.
Two puns in one word, you’re amazing!

December 13, 2010 7:20 pm

Sounds like the Frogs actually did it to themselves.
Not the French BTW.
Its the old Bait and Chase…set the mark up with a honeypot…say total domination of all mankind in perpetuity without recourse to representation or relief, then reap the benefits.
In this case, the poor froggies get a whole lot of sweet loot:
fenced off ponds
all you can eat buffets
lots o’lady froggies – you know…tax payer funded fun.
By the time Humanity works it out, they’ve evolved thumbs, invented FROGHOLES (like wormholes only froggier) and you’ve left them holding the entire sinking wreck.
Beats sharing a planet with Toads. And its payback time for those damn scorpions…’its my nature!..” yeah right, eat ice-age mr nippy-pants.

Baa Humbug
December 13, 2010 7:21 pm

This is the type of thing that just makes me hopping mad.
Oh! and posters like William Butler

December 13, 2010 7:25 pm

William Butler, I have news for you: in the last four or five years we had in our province (Córdoba, Argentina) an invasion of frogs and toads.
I live in open country near a pond, and in spring and summer it has been quite difficult to sleep because their singing. At least there are less mosquitoes, flies, and crickets.

December 13, 2010 7:50 pm

“I’m curious why a charlatan like you keeps spewing moronic nonsense. Really, how is it possible? Are you being paid that much?”
Are warmists getting that much desperate that, instead of using arguments to refute an idea, have to use ad hominem attacks and ambiguous denial phrases? Interesting, something good must be happening to science indeed. Keep on the good working Anthony. Cheers

Ted Gray
December 13, 2010 7:50 pm

William Butler says:
December 13, 2010 at 5:12 pm
I’m curious why a charlatan like you keeps spewing moronic nonsense. Really, how is it possible? Are you being paid that much?
Willy Wonka Butler.
I hate to comedown on a loser, but you take the FRUIT CAKE, I would like to apply for a research grant to study your brain function or lack of it!
There is so much evidence being presented here and some very simple fact checking proves it beyond any warmist wet dreamers inability to assorb the truth.
You’ve won the prize for moron of the week.
I invite you to look at the evidence again and come back with something half decent in the way of a counter argument, Maybe you are infected with chytrid fungus of the brain.
I think you are more likely suffering from DRD4 gene which prevents you from the ability to “Science Digest” evidence from any other source other than the leftist Climate progress pages or perhaps Al Gore can help you frame a better argument?
because right now you are batting ZERO!

December 13, 2010 7:58 pm

They were definitely walking in Nobel territory until proven wrong.

December 13, 2010 8:07 pm

These silly ‘scientists’, most who seem to live in cold or temperate climates, really have no idea about tropical zoology or botany. They are oblivious that the ‘horrendous’ temperatures they predict are the norm for 50% of the planet. All they know about are their conformist disaster models that bring in the next grant from gullible, ill-educated politicians, inflamed by journalists who are ignorant as the frogs themselves. It is disgusting.

December 13, 2010 8:08 pm

DesertYote says:
Another point, the definition of what constitutes a species, is very loose when applied to amphibians. And the whole concept of “locally extinct” has no scientific validity.

It’s properly called “extirpation” but so many folks don’t know that word that it’s just a lot easier to say “locally extinct” as that is descriptively correct of the meaning. I wouldn’t stress over it.
BTW “species” are pretty darned loose over a lot of different, er, species. Most of the cabbage family along with turnips and mustards will all get in each others pants and make new “species”. (I think it’s the “Choy” vegetables that are a turnip mustard cross? And I’ve crossed cabbages with kales. And a rutabega is a cross of cabbages with turnips? Something like that. Sometimes you get a gene doubling too – diplody).
Lions and Tigres are keen on each other too. Oh, and several misc. species of ‘wolves, cayotes, and foxes’ have been found to be various odd cross-species crosses. It’s a very long list.
“Species” It’s not a law, just some ‘ol prudish dingbat trying to limit your love…
At least, that’s the way nature seems to see it. And we won’t even talk about what bacteria do with their plasmid rings. Those guys will share genes with anything that moves and a lot of stuff that doesn’t…
Oh, and don’t forget that Triticale is a wheat / rye hybrid… And some of my favorite fruit is made from “odd” crossings; like Grapefruit / Tanerine to get a Tangelo, wonderful fruit. And Nectarines, and…

Crispin in Ulaanbaatar
December 13, 2010 8:31 pm

William Butler: take a break. See you next week. Better luck next time.
Guys and gals, you can lead a man to evidence but you cannot make him read it. Don’t say, ‘Read the evidence’. Evidence is for those willing to educate themselves.
Thus speaks loud the difference between education and schooling. Many are schooled in the ‘truths’ of AGW-caused frog extinctions. It used to be acid rain-caused extinction: frogs in bubbling acid-bath lakes, until it was found there isn’t any.
The destiny of the well-schooled yet uneducated masses is toadying up to funders chanting climate mantras like: “The Golden Frog was the first proven extinction caused by man-made warming.” Find the article – its a hoot. Classic sky-is-falling, pay NOW before it’s too late! Too bad about the fungus the ‘researcher’ tramped through their territory. Killed them in one year. Oblivious, during a visit the following year the author found only one remaining. Then silence.
I am delighted to hear frog populations are in general recovering. Turns out they are more resilient than most arguments holding that CO2-armegeddon waits just around the corner (promise!) if we don’t pay more attention (and $$).
The problem with warmistas, like amphibians, is that deprived of their marketing appendage, they will just grow a new tale. Pinoccio’s image come to mind…

John F. Hultquist
December 13, 2010 8:49 pm

Wasn’t it wishing for a hoppy ending that got Big Al in trouble?
Sorry. It has been a long day – too little heat, too much snow, too long of a driveway, too many fools, . . .

Jim Steele
December 13, 2010 8:50 pm

The “blame AGW for frog extinction” was a blatant example of not just trying to create fear with false blame but also how AGW claims inhibited efforts to save the frogs that were most susceptible to the disease. And no surprise that Nature led the way with the false claims publishing the main advocate of AGW extinctions, Alan Pounds, who the became one of the few biologist for the IPCC report.
As early as 1998 Australian scientists thought the enigmatic extinctions were caused by disease, because the frogs showed no signs of stress, looked healthy but then suddenly died. Pounds and Crump studying the Golden Toad from Monteverde remarked that populations were at all time highs just months before they disappeared. The abundant Golden Toad lived in burrows, sheltered from most climactic changes, and only emerged to mate for one or 2 weeks year. They mated after the rains returned from the El Nino, but were never seen again. No bodies were ever found. Genetic studies revealed that the fungus appeared in the areas shortly before their disappearance. Although there is no way to prove the Golden Toad extinction was caused by the chytrid without autopsies , nearby extinctions were definitely connected to Chytrids. Scientists like Crump saw this newly emerging disease slowly spreading through Central America and actually predicted where it would appear and rescued susceptible frogs for captive breeding. Yet Pounds condemned the efforts as a diversion from the real culprit AGW. And Nature published several papers by Pounds speculating that AGW was the real culprit, despite all evidence indicating that temperatures had not changed enough to effect the fungus’ spread. The fungus actually showed up during the winters and high elevations because high temperatures killed the fungus . Yet without a shred of evidence supporting AGW, Michael Man used the Golden toads extinction as an example of AGW’s future in his book “Dire Predictions”. Such claims only go to show how wrong Mann and AGW advocates can be!

Dave Wendt
December 13, 2010 8:56 pm

It’s a bit strange that people who constantly rail on about about species developing resistance to man’s efforts to control them are so slow recognize that that same capability extends to naturally occurring threats as well. Almost all the catastrophic prognostications about man’s devastating effect on Nature seriously underestimate Mother Gaia’s resilience and adaptability.

December 13, 2010 9:08 pm

The reality of the yawning gap between opposing views on global warming is starkly illustrated by Anthony’s challenge to Mr. Butler to tell how he “knows” that global warming is killing frogs. Let’s assume, in the absence of hard scientific evidence supplied by Mr. Butler, that his views are based merely on a firm “belief” in the global warning doctrine. That will surely be enough to sustain his views, notwithstanding his inability to come back with a ‘killer” argument. History shows that people are, in some circumstances, willing to die for their beliefs and Mr. Butler’s intemperate outburst is a measure of the depth of his committment to the cause.
Unfortunately, I suspect that those of us who remain unconvinced about the causes and extent of the global warming are similarly inclined to fall back on our beliefs in dismissing pro-AGW arguments as the product of feeble or dishonest minds. How can they believe such rubbish? we ask.
I can’t see the two sides reaching anything approaching a consensus anytime soon. What a pity it is not liable to be resolved like the Y2K bug affair where, overnight, the issue was resolved unequivocally and the fearmongers and schemers skulked away, never to be heard of again

December 13, 2010 9:14 pm

The butler did it!

December 13, 2010 9:15 pm

Oh willy willy willy,cant you just be happy for the froggys.You must lead a very sad life.

Patrick Davis
December 13, 2010 9:22 pm

There was a new species of frog recently discovered, a tiny little thing no bigget than a thumb nail. So “global warming” kills and creates frogs species?

Paul Brassey
December 13, 2010 9:35 pm

This looks a little analogous to the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. The scientist influences the system he/she’s trying to measure. Scientists spreading fungus with their research boots is similar to climate scientists mucking around in the historical temperature record, sometimes obliterating the original data. The difference is that the latter are doing it intentionally.

Jim Steele
December 13, 2010 10:08 pm

Paul Brassey says “This looks a little analogous to the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. The scientist influences the system he/she’s trying to measure. Scientists spreading fungus with their research boots is similar to climate scientists mucking around in the historical temperature record, sometimes obliterating the original data. The difference is that the latter are doing it intentionally.”
Many amphibian researchers did wonder if they were the cause of the amphibians deaths. Often, to mark a population, they toe-clip individuals. But in the past this had been a harmless endeavor. And several researchers noted that the most studied populations were often the hardest hit. The Chytrid fungus killer was new, originally from South Africa and found to live on the African clawed frog, Xenopus sp. . It had been used extensively in the biological community first as a pregnancy test, but also in studies of embryological development since the large embryo inside the clear gelatin cover is easily observed. Blaustein, who advocated ulra-violet and ozone depletion as the root of extinction, used Xenopus in his lab and it is likely several researchers did as well and likely helped to unknowingly spread the disease.
Typically a highly virulent disease kills itself if it too quickly kills it hosts. So there is a natural evolution towards a less virulent strain that is no longer lethal. Such evolution appears to have occurred in Xenopus. But newly exposed populations are devastated and if a few genetically resistant individuals survive they can repopulate and coexist. Small populations and geographically restricted species, like the Golden Toad were so small, they lacked the numbers to evolve into a resistant population, as likely happened to several other newly extinct frogs like Australia’s gastric breeding frogs.
Some populations with widespread populations that lived in warmer lowlands as well as cooler high elevations, lost only their cool dwelling populations and so maintained populations that could serve as a sources that can evolve co-existence.
It seems only the AG advocates wanted to ignore the “Heisenberg principle” and their own complicity. The advocates of the new emerging introduced disease hypothesis, advocated sterilizing their boots and equipment. They also advocated captive breeding to breed resistance and give the vulnerable species a fighting chance. The AGW advocates liked Pounds and later Blaustein never mention such precautions.However they via Nature often attacked the disease hypothesis unless it was caused by AGW. It seemed as if the AGW advocates did not want say anything that might diminish their invested AGW hypothesis.
I can only imagine when the AIDS virus was first discovered if people like Pounds and Blaustein, argued against disease prevention to further AGW as the cause of AIDS more people would have died. But the AIDS people quickly turned to education to stop the spread of AIDS, and minimized the damage. If the the same efforts towards education regards the spread of the Chytrid were similarly pushed, the several Chytrid extinctions may have been avoided. Personally I think people like Pounds and Blaustein, and Nature, who fought against the emerging disease hypothesis in order to promote AGW attribution, must shoulder some of the blame for the slowed prevention measures and preventable extinctions!

Christopher Hanley
December 13, 2010 10:33 pm

Further to Mooloo (5:14 pm).
Do alarmists like Mr Butler genuinely believe that the climate conditions throughout the Earth as represented by the mean global temperature in 1950 was the absolute optimum for all plant and animal species…..
……that frogs, for instance, which have survived 350 million years of climate change, can be wiped out by a ~ 0.7C temperature rise?
Do they sincerely believe that the temperature rise since 1950 must be peculiarly malign because, in their belief, it is totally due to human CO2 emissions?

December 13, 2010 11:10 pm

Wildlife biologists extirpating the very species they study is nothing new and not confined to amphibians. They have done it to birds (esp. island species such as found in Hawaii) through mist nettings, nest robbing, and various other deadly “research” practices; and to rare insects (museums such as the Smithsonian have large warehouses full of uncurated vats of now extinct arthropods).
Wildlife biologists (or ecologists, as they like to refer to themselves these days) occupy the bottom of the science barrel. Not all, just 99% of them.
Very unfortunately, the Endangered Species Act has given those bozos free rein (or reign) to destroy the economies (as well as the wildlife populations) of states and regions.
Many visitors here probably think that climate “scientists” are the principal charlatans perverting science. IMHO, the wye-byes are even more Ludditish and destructive.

December 13, 2010 11:12 pm

20+ years they’ve been saying globull warming kills and deforms frogs!
Too bad they can’t jump high enough to be struck by 3.5 million dollar wind mill blades, like birds are. I’ve been going for walks around wind farms, I’m finding lots of crow body parts in the vicinity. Crows rarely ever get hit by cars and trucks, but appear to have a problem with midwest wind farms.

Alex the skeptic
December 13, 2010 11:19 pm

Mooloo says:
December 13, 2010 at 5:14 pm
No-one thought it was actually global warming killing jungle frogs. Half a degree on average in 50 years wipes out tropical species? It was never really a starter.
It was a nice drum to beat, because it drove along people interested in conservation. We all know the present has barely changed in terms of the range of temperatures.
The point of AGW panic is that our future is in jeopardy.
Our future is ALWAYS in jeopardy. However we human beings have always managed to achieve, to move forward, and to eliminate with great sacrifices that evil that inhabits a small corner of our left side of the brain and that sometimes comes to the fore and creates havoc, war, terrorism…. and bad science.
Post Berlin wall crash, the evil inside the leftist’s brain went for the science jugular (red environmentalism), killed the scientist, skinned him, put that scientist-skin on himself to impress and is now THE JEOPARDY. This is the jeopardy we have to eliminate, fast. Well its already dead actually, but still on artifical respiration with the plug being pulled by WUWT and its resident heroes.

December 13, 2010 11:28 pm

You know, species that are not able to survive a half a degree temperature rise, how on earth then did they survive the Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction event?

December 13, 2010 11:36 pm

This sort of alarmism really annoys me. I remember thinking at the time the news came out, that a likely source of infection of the frogs was the scientists looking for the fungus and even if they weren’t responsible, mass movement of people, goods and animals would be.
The environmental misdirection that follows climate change hysteria is having a terrible effect on real and preventable damage to the planet. Bad practice doesn’t change when the real perpetrators can point to CO2 and say ‘not our fault’. So the trees around Mount Kilimanjaro are still at risk; ships still wash out their bilges, releasing invasive species; spores, seeds and insects arrive in new habitats on wood, food or plants; pollution poisons coral reefs; animals are killed for food, protection or trade; people die of preventable malaria; etc.

Roger Knights
December 14, 2010 12:39 am

Such claims only go to show how wrong Mann and AGW advocates can be!

Not just wrong, but wrong-headed.

The reality of the yawning gap between opposing views on global warming is starkly illustrated by Anthony’s challenge to Mr. Butler to tell how he “knows” that global warming is killing frogs.

I don’t think his comment was related to the topic of the current post. He more likely just wound up in it only because it was the uppermost thread at the time he navigated to wattsupwiththat.com to make a general comment on the whole site. He was probably inflamed by something he read at CP or RC.

Richard S Courtney
December 14, 2010 1:25 am

The Chytrids are reducing! At this rate they will soon go extinct!
It is worse than we thought!
(sarc off)

December 14, 2010 1:33 am

We’ve had some very healthy frogs in our garden this year here in the UK.
I was recently staying on a farm in country Victoria (Australia) and could hear the Pobblebonk frogs in the dam. There are usually deafening masses of them in the winter Down Under; I don’t remember hearing them in early Summer before.
I believe some birds in Northern Australia have discovered how to prey on Cane toads without being poisoned, but I can’t give you the details. No doubt someone with a bit more time to spend on the internet could find out more!

December 14, 2010 1:40 am

Here in northern NSW, Australia, on the western (dry) side of the mountain range, living on a fairly steep hill with no normally running surface watercourses or wet areas, after ten years of serious drought, intermittent intense heat and dust storms, but also after just a couple of months of quite regular rainfall, the frogs are back. The frog cacophony is keeping me awake nights. How have they survived the last ten years? Frogs rule!

December 14, 2010 1:45 am

This seems to be another example of the disturbing anthropocentrism that is corrupting science. Rather than objectively look at evidence, there seems to be a reflexive action of individuals who mis-label themselves as scientists to immediately blame humans for anything negative that occurs in the area they’re studying.
It’s curious that individuals who are most likely to ridicule conservatives for disbelieving in evolution are the people least able to recognize evolution in action. What has been found in medicine is that pathogens are constantly evolving and so new diseases happen all of the time. Fortunately, human intelligence operates more efficiently than microbial evolutionary processes and we’ve stayed on top of new viral and bacterial illnesses thus far. The same biologic battle that produces new human diseases produces novel animal diseases and has been doing so for hundreds of millions of years; a species either adapts or it goes extinct. Frogs have survived numerous ice ages with far greater temperature swings than the miniscule supposedly anthropogenic contribution. One wonders how amphibians can exist at all where I live where the temperature goes from -20 C in winter to +40 C or more in summer.
I see similar examples all of the time in my medical practice where individuals immediately blame “pollution”, “environmental chemicals” and other human factors for their illnesses; people just can’t seem to grasp the concept that a very complex dissipative system like a human body has numerous innate failure modes. Needing a cause for something appears to be a primary human drive and the concept of a chaotic system appears to be foreign to a majority of humans (including scientists).

December 14, 2010 1:50 am

The biggest problem to amphibians are city dwellers gone rogue and become weekend hippies. This is the first sign of people having too much money and too much time on their hands so they start soul seeking and these days they have no pants left on for the AGW doom and gloom mongers, so what do they do but go out and repopulate the country side, but in this age they are more and they want all the convenience of the city as well, and they are middle class so they got a fair amount of influence.
To further the problem a lot of the weekend hippies are now becoming permanent hippies. Selling your expensive city cave and moving to a cheaper residency hut is of course very clever when hitting retirement age. However this now creates a new set of problems of convenient spell. Old dying villages with crappy old outdated everything infrastructure that has been patched beyond recognition for the past 20 years suddenly needs to be rebuilt from the ground up to support, not just weekend hippies gone permanently conserved natural mentally-challenged-village-person, but also de facto quick fix for urbanization to support a larger population, which apparently has something to do with tax being of rather import for the local, now incorporated, community.
On top of this influx of ballistically crazy hippies comes the dire need for city dumps, which pretty much spells land fill, which of course fills up the old crappy march’s (who needs ’em any how?) to build proper “green” hippie homes on, oh yes, and to support water and sewer piping, roads, and yes a bigger dump site for all that crap you ought not dump in the ground to boot.
So essentially it is a drainage problem for both the amphibians and the city dweller gone weekend hippie gone rouge and become permanently hippified into “it’s” new local habitat.

December 14, 2010 2:00 am

@William Butler
‘I’m curious why a charlatan like you keeps spewing moronic nonsense.’
Hahaha! I too am curious why a charlatan like you, ‘William’, keeps spewing moronic nonsense . On the run, eh, son? With nothing left but ad hom abuse now? Back to your classroom and learn some science, as well as civility. Presumably you still believe in Piltdown and Phlogiston too?
[Lets put an end to this now shall we. Spit-ball contests are for those who study sand-boxes…. bl57~mod]

spangled drongo
December 14, 2010 2:18 am

Scientists are still getting large grants to study the AGW effect on biodiversity and it’s not just polar bears:

December 14, 2010 2:40 am

This is my favorite part of science. The extinction game. But there is a small flaw in the biologist mind. When finding a new specie, one seldom consider the new specie as just evolved, the newly found specie has been around for millennia; off course. But when a specie goes extinct, then it is lo and behold the horror of mankind.
The game is rigged and the dice loaded.

December 14, 2010 2:49 am

I had made a comment on March 7, 2010 about the irony of researchers boots spreading the fungus.
I further quoted:

Locally it may be spread by anything from a frog’s legs to a bird’s feathers to a hiker’s muddy boots, and it has afflicted at least 200 species.”
“”It wasn’t long ago when you walked along the bank of this pond,” he recalls, “a frog leapt at every other step. ”


“We propose that Africa is the origin of the amphibian chytrid and that the international trade in X. laevis that began in the mid-1930s was the means of dissemination.”

December 14, 2010 3:17 am

William Butler, the World Resources Institute has a very impressive list of donors, including BP, Shell, Toyota, DuPont, Monsanto, Rio Tinto, Coca-Cola and around 800 others including someone with your name.
One of the aims of the WRI is to “protect the global climate system from further harm due to emissions of greenhouse gases”.
Why does the WRI keep spewing moronic nonsense? Are they being paid that much? Answer: Yes they are.

December 14, 2010 3:45 am

This post makes me wonder how many other local ‘extinctions’ and declines are caused by concerned researchers transmitting pathogens via their boots, clothes, handling etc. Simliarities with the conquistadors and other Europeans introducing new diseases to the Americas? Then they go on to blame global warming. It also makes me wonder about the lizard decline featured on WUWT earlier this year.

December 14, 2010 3:51 am

Some frog populations in various parts of the world are not only recovering, but also showing signs of increased resistance—gained through adaptation and/or evolution—to the chytrid fungus.

This has similarities with the Great Barrier Reef which was supposed to vanish due to coral bleaching ’caused’ by global warming [ignore algal blooms]. Yaaaaan!

“Doom and Boom on a Resilient Reef: Climate Change, Algal Overgrowth and Coral Recovery”
“In 2006, mass bleaching of corals on inshore reefs of the Great Barrier Reef caused high coral mortality. Here we show that this coral mortality was followed by an unprecedented bloom of a single species of unpalatable seaweed (Lobophora variegata), colonizing dead coral skeletons, but that corals on these reefs recovered dramatically, in less than a year………These mechanisms of ecological recovery included rapid regeneration rates of remnant coral tissue, very high competitive ability of the corals allowing them to out-compete the seaweed, a natural seasonal decline in the particular species of dominant seaweed, and an effective marine protected area system. Our study provides a key example of the doom and boom of a highly resilient reef, and new insights into the variability and mechanisms of reef resilience under rapid climate change.”
“Palau’s coral reefs show differential habitat recovery following the 1998-bleaching event”
“Recovery was examined from 2001 to 2005 at 13 sites stratified by habitat……….Recruitment densities were consistently high on the wave-exposed reefs, particularly the western slopes, where recovery was attributed to both recruitment and regrowth of remnants. Recovery was initially more rapid at 10 m than 3 m on outer reefs, but in 2004, recovery rates were similar at both depths.”
“Resistance and Resilience to Coral Bleaching: Implications for Coral Reef Conservation and Management”
“The massive scale of the 1997–1998 El Niño–associated coral bleaching event underscores the need for strategies to mitigate biodiversity losses resulting from temperature-induced coral mortality…….These “target areas,” where environmental conditions appear to boost resistance and resilience during and after large-scale bleaching events,……..”

Oscar Bajner
December 14, 2010 4:07 am

As a young boy, I enjoyed the frog opera every evening. As an adult, I recall the silence that attended the absence of the band. As I now sink into middle age, the frog opera is back. Their old croaking ground (a bit of marshy land) is now a golf-estate, and my froggy opera has to compete with the skulldulling auditory emissions of sundry “urban hippies” — (as 1DandyTroll put it) who have swamped the village of my younger days.
I recall that the decline of frogs in our area was blamed on acid rain, pollution from nearby mines and industry and what not. Now the same area is 10 times more industrialized, populated and developed, and yet the frogs have re-established themselves in style.

December 14, 2010 4:07 am

Boris Gimbarzevsky says: “This seems to be another example of the disturbing anthropocentrism that is corrupting science… blame humans for anything negative that occurs in the area they’re studying.”
I like to call it “the science of solipsism.” Others in this thread have alluded to it. When it comes to the natural world, CAGW alarmists are full of hubris and other errors of perception.

spangled drongo
December 14, 2010 4:25 am

Extinction rates lowest in 500 years:
[SD, good to see you back and commenting again! ~dbs]

December 14, 2010 5:33 am

Where have all the froggys gone – long time passing
Where have all the froggys gone – long time ago
Where have all the froggys gone – gone to Al Gore everyone
When will we ever learn, when will we ever learn?
Where have all the chytrids gone – long time morphing
Where have all the chytrids gone – on hippies legs
Where have all the chytrids gone – antifungal cremes
When we will ever learn, when will we ever learn.
Where has all the warming gone – since this summer
Where has all the warming gone – it’s too damn cold
Where has all the warming gone – gone to hockey sticks everyone
What we will never learn, what will we never learn.

Rob Potter
December 14, 2010 6:26 am

The frogs evolved – what a surprise (bears…. woods anyone).
In a similar way, human society will evolve (probably not our genetics) to adapt to whatever climate change occurs. And we will adapt a whole lot better and faster if we don’t put stupid constraints on our economic development (such as energy taxes).
/rant mode = off/
Now time to go and play in the snow!

Jason Calley
December 14, 2010 6:27 am

Robert Wykoff says: “I just love the cosmic irony of the very people that were clanging the alarm bells to the world, were the very source of the problem in the first place.”
Ironic, yes, but a sad sort of irony.
There is an example of something very similar, but showing the response of REAL environmentalists. Recently here in the US, a fungal infection has wiped out huge numbers of bats. Initially, the cause of the die-offs was something of a mystery. As soon as the deaths were traced to fungal infections, the word went out among the caver community (potholer for you Brits.) Knowing that they might be spreading the spores, cavers began limiting or halting access to endangered caves, and starting a policy of cleaning and washing equipment to prevent cross contamination. No hysteria, no end-of-the-world; instead, “identify the problem, find the cause, work toward a solution.”
Just an example of sincere, rational environmentalists in action in contrast to the environmental wackos.

December 14, 2010 6:29 am

The “Inconvenient Truth” from the beginning of our earth’s existence is that “everything changes”, as the running waters in a river:
Δεν γίνεται να μπει κανείς στο ίδιο νερό του ποταμού που κυλάει δύο φορές.
You could not step twice into the same river; for other waters are ever flowing on to you.
And…thankfully. Could you imagine a world where all “endangered species” would have been saved from extinction by Al Gore’s great great grand father. Surely we could have become extinct, instead.

December 14, 2010 6:34 am

[Lets put an end to this now shall we. Spit-ball contests are for those who study sand-boxes…. bl57~mod]
Fair nuff bl57! It’s just some mornings I can’t stomach the arrogant trash these people deal in.

John Bowman
December 14, 2010 6:35 am

So the eons old evolution, natural selection and survival of the fittest thing whatever the challenge to the species.
So would the same apply to us all even if the climate change monster does its worst – or is that too much to hope for?

December 14, 2010 6:59 am

Usual bashing against AGW, but did some research and found the reality. In fact, if someone said it was AGW – he was wrong. But some could not resist to associate both of them (on both sides).
Still, i don’t remember Gore putting frog’s illness on GW. He used frogs to demonstrate something else. But you like to use Gore for whatever reason instead of staying focus on the subject.
In the scientific community, they search if the propagation was caused by GW – it was not (that was known as early as 2004). It turned out it was the infested frogs being move (exported) from one area to another in the world that was propagating the fungus . Same kind of infestation as the zebra shell in the great lakes – it came by transportation (transatlantic boat).
If you want some demagogy, human is again the source of that problem – AGFI, for Anthropogenic Global Frog Ilness ;-). Still it is quite normal that frogs that have never been exposed to such fungus will get hill. Some people in the world have a high level of arsenic in there food – and they don’t get sick for that. Bring a good US citizen at that place to eat the same food and he’ll get sick overnight.
Ever heard about ”da tourista” when you go south, Mexico, Dominican Republic and all those nice vacation places. Same thing.. Locals are not sick drinking the water. Bring a good US citizen on the island and have him drink half a glass of the same water, he’ll get sick all week (some died).
Back to the subject.. The following text from the Amphibian Ark. Note on that site about the Chytrid Fungus, not a single word about GW, AGW, or climate. And it’s all about science. BD is the C.Fungus variant at the source of the frog’s illness.
So if Bd has only recently been introduced to new locations, where did it come from? There is genetic and historical evidence that Bd has been present for a long time in Africa (Soto-Azat et al., 2010; Weldon et al., 2004); Japan (Goka et al., 2009) and eastern North America (Garner et al., 2006) and all have been proposed as the possible site of origin. Although the exact origin of Bd has not yet been determined, it has become clear that global trade in amphibians for food, for use as laboratory animals, or for use as pets or display animals is responsible for movement of Bd to locations where it was not previously present (Weldon et al., 2004; Schloegel et al., 2009). This has led to international regulations under the World Organization for Animal Health to require that amphibians be free of Bd infection before international shipment (Schloegel et al, 2010).

December 14, 2010 7:11 am

To the people commenting @William Butler, he’s a troll and should be ignored, if you wish to understand them more try :-

Jason Calley
December 14, 2010 7:33 am

E.M. Smith says: “Species” It’s not a law, just some ‘ol prudish dingbat trying to limit your love… ”
Yes. 🙂
Some years back I posted some comments on a board discussing evolution when the subject of chimpanzee-human hybrids came up. The concensus of people in the discussion was “Humans cannot create a crossbreed with chimps because we are different species.” I pointed out that horse-donkey, and lion-tiger crosses exist, both examples being of species with a higher genetic difference than that between humans and chimps. I pointed out that “species” is a rough rule of thumb with no clear definition. No change in opinions…concensus remained “We are different species, end of discussion!”
Note that I am not proposing or endorsing (or volunteering for!) the experiment, only saying that we do not know.

Alan F
December 14, 2010 8:05 am

Why let a heart-string’s scare tactic go unabated on a vector destined for a dead end when you can stop them from wasting all those resources and reducing their own stressing over naught by merely “heading them off at the pass”? I would however say not a single climate realist wishes Gore anything but continued health and the freedom to keep burying himself in both his words and his garish display of that Big Climate fortune.

December 14, 2010 8:27 am

Environmentalism is a religion; it doesn’t need facts. Facts just get in the way of the faithful’s ultimate goal of eliminating the parasitic disease known as humanity.

December 14, 2010 8:38 am

The thing i see being the problem is warmist keep saying the climate change is happening to fast for adaption, And yet they keep proving them selves wrong as seen with the frogs and if you look back at WUWT history this year on ocean acidifacation and the fish around coral reefs. They keep saying the changes are happening to fast for adaption but NATURE proves them WRONG every time.

December 14, 2010 8:40 am

I read this in a German tabloid during the time it was going on, so my apologies in advance for the lack of citations: Six years ago there was an alert for exploding frogs in northern Germany. Yes, exploding frogs. The usual culprits were blamed (AGW, fertilizer run off from house yards, illegal dumping of who-knew-what) until it turned out that the local ravens were selectively eating bits of live frogs. The dying frogs apparently could no longer control their respiration and gas exchange and were hyper inflating and then “pop” went the amphibians. No, I didn’t follow up to see if the ravens were being affected by AGW, pollution, a bad horoscope, et cetera.

December 14, 2010 8:41 am

The hubris of these scientists knows no bounds, and over the years they have persuaded politicians that the rest of humanity should be proscribed by law from touching many of the creatures with which we share this world.
Here on the Solway we have the most northerly colony of natterjack toads and some years ago I took my grandson to a local nature reserve for the afternoon for a wardened walk.
Part way round the warden lifted a tin sheet and emerged with a toad. To my amazement he then solemnly admonished the crowd not to try this for themselves, as he was licenced to touch the animals and that it was a criminal offence to interfere with them in any way without that authority.
There were then, as there are now, tens of thousands of natterjacks widespread throughout the area, and their courtship song continues to fill the twilight air of a late May evening; for most people the only indication of the existence of this secretive nocturnal amphibian.

December 14, 2010 8:49 am
December 14, 2010 8:52 am

E.M.Smith says:
December 13, 2010 at 8:08 pm
DesertYote says:
Another point, the definition of what constitutes a species, is very loose when applied to amphibians. And the whole concept of “locally extinct” has no scientific validity.
It’s properly called “extirpation” but so many folks don’t know that word that it’s just a lot easier to say “locally extinct” as that is descriptively correct of the meaning. I wouldn’t stress over it.
I stress over it because the greenies deliberately replaced the term “extirpation” with “local extinction” for propaganda purposes. 20 years ago, everyone interested in conservation knew what extirpated meant. I get very tired of the loony left defining our language. It is not an accident, it is not done out of convenience, or to make things easier to understand, it is done to lie.
Do you remember those beautifully filmed, but insidiously deceitful piece of Marxist propaganda dressed up as science called “Blue Planet” and “Planet Earth”? In one of them they showed some footage of a troglodytic fish that they kept calling a “Cave Angelfish”. I damn near blew a gasket!
The fish was a member of a species in the genus Homaloptera (don’t ask me which one, there are a lot and only about a half of them have been given names [because ichthyologists, at least try to make sure that their taxonomy matches reality, unlike some herpetologists]). Homaloptera are called “Lizard Fish” or “Gecko Fish”. They also intimated that this was a very rare and unique organism. BS! The family, Balitoridae is littered with troglodytes. Some species even have normal and troglodytic phenotypes.
The other thing that really bothered me was that the film crew was molesting the fish severely ( though they did not show that, of course) in order to get it to swim the way they wanted it to. Homaloptera almost never swim that way. Everything about the scene was a lie.
And let us not forget the recent failed attempt by the wacko greenies to get everyone to start calling “Polar Bears”, “Ice Bears”. And speaking of Ursus maritimus, we have a perfect example of the problem with trying to define a species. By our common sense understanding of species, U. maritimus and U. arctos, are seperate species, but according to a more technical, cladistic definition, either U. maritimus is really U. arctos maritimus, or U. arctos is more then one species. This is because U. maritimus is more closely related to U.a.middendorffy, then either is to U.a.arctos.
When I was talking about the definition of what constitutes a species is very loose when applied to amphibians, I am talking way above and beyond the normal understood problems with definitions. There are a lot of herpetologist that what to call every regional variation a unique species. “100s of species of tree frog discovered in a 1000 sq. kM of jungle!” Yeah, right, give me a break.

December 14, 2010 9:10 am

@Jim Steele
Your two contributions are most appreciated. I feel better informed now than with the lead post alone.
The alleged frog extinction-AGW link particularly resonated with the mainstream media and the public. It was one of the main pieces of evidence that proved the AGW.
So it turns out the so-called ‘canary in the mine’ died of disease, not ‘methane’. And I get to learn about this only today. Not in the supposedly objective and factual mainstream media but thanks to the skeptic blogosphere.

Vince Causey
December 14, 2010 9:54 am

It’s a familiar story to anyone who understands evolution. A pathogen evolves into a new strain, the host has no resistance – except for a few individuals. Nature then selects these individuals to out-live and out-breed those without the resistant gene. The population bounces back with the new genotype, and resistant gene pool extant.
I would wager the same eventual outcome for the recent bee colony disorder. Indeed, I think that already pathogens are suspected. The solution is to do precisely nothing. Let natural selection solve the problem as it always does. The bees will eventually bounce back, resistant and invigorated.

December 14, 2010 12:20 pm

“Thus opens a new chapter in the ongoing Disappearing Frog saga, and one that likely foretells of a hoppy ending.”
Punny man!

December 14, 2010 12:43 pm

Nice find, Scott; the authors were getting off on the right leg until they fell back onto the usual but-
“Both Sessions and Johnson believe that the parasites take advantage of the frog’s deformities to further their own reproductive success throughout their life cycle. Initially, immature trematodes infect aquatic snails and reproduce asexually, often reaching numbers that kill the snail. Once the larvae are in the water again, they attack tadpoles, with an eye to their third host, birds, where they reproduce sexually. The fact is that the birds find it easier to dine on the deformed frogs. And via the birds’ feces, the parasites travel to the next pond.
That said, the involvement of natural parasites in producing misshapen or fewer frogs doesn’t necessarily absolve human activities.”

December 14, 2010 1:02 pm

Crispin, really, this is just a bit too hopless even for a deaf frog.
“The problem with warmistas, like amphibians, is that deprived of their marketing appendage, they will just grow a new tale. Pinoccio’s image come to mind…”

December 14, 2010 1:23 pm

try this site on your cane toads

December 14, 2010 1:45 pm

I worked with a guy who swore he saw human/chimp crosses loading a ship in Guyana (circa 1945), who’s to say?

December 14, 2010 9:04 pm

@Desert Yote:
OK, I see your point… I rail about the ‘redefinition’ game in other contexts, so I guess it’s only fair that I accept it’s being played here, too…

December 15, 2010 4:53 pm

Frog science is very similar to Flea science:
If you pull all the legs of a trained jumping flea it becomes deaf and will no longer obey the commands of the observing “soft scientists” to jump.

George E. Smith
December 16, 2010 10:46 am

What I can tell you about frog science is that if you cut some of the legs off a frog and tell them to jump; their performance gets diminisehed; with fewer legs.
BUT !! if you cut ALL four legs off a frog; a completely new and unexpected phenomenon occurs.
They become STONE DEAF !! And they won’t jump no matter how loud you yell at them.
CONGRESS has some frog like attributes; including stone deafness.

George E. Smith
December 16, 2010 10:47 am

Ooops; well I see maxxx already made that point.

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