Some amphibians can acquire resistance to deadly fungus: U Tampa biologist

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Populations of amphibians, like frogs and toads, are on the decline worldwide. But a new study could lead to certain amphibian species recovering.

This study focuses on 2 amphibian species that can acquire resistance to a deadly fungus. Taegan McMahon, an assistant professor of biology at the University of Tampa is one of the lead researchers in the study.

“Within this paper we looked at two species ourselves, Oak Toad and Cuban tree frog, then we also looked at another paper that had done some work with a different species.”

McMahon says research on amphibians is necessary.

“They’re extremely important in the food web because as tad poles they eat the tridents and insects and things like mosquito larva in the land, and as adults they eat other insects on the land. As well as they are food for larger animals like water snakes and ferns and small mammals.”

Hopes are high for the team which included researchers from University of Tampa and University of South Florida.

“The work that we’re doing is very exciting it shows one of the first positive steps for rehabilitating amphibian populations around the world but it’s only a preliminary step.”

McMahon says there is still more work to be done.

“We need to do quite a bit more research to see if this work is actually practical in the field and if this is something that could actually be used on a larger scale, right now we just have this basic idea that these amphibians have a possibility of acquiring resistance to the fungus which is very exciting but we need to do a lot more research before we can figure out if its going to lead to practical management.”

This study seems to be a promising step for amphibian populations.