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Amphibians as Bioindicators. Tony Li, Michael Ivanov, Jasmine Gallup. Amphibians as Bioindicators. Reasons for why amphibians are good bioindicators include: Amphibians breathe through their skin, so they are much more affected by changes to air and water caused by pollution.

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amphibians as bioindicators

Amphibians as Bioindicators

Tony Li, Michael Ivanov, Jasmine Gallup

amphibians as bioindicators2
Amphibians as Bioindicators

Reasons for why amphibians are good bioindicators include:

  • Amphibians breathe through their skin, so they are much more affected by changes to air and water caused by pollution.
  • Amphibians require aquatic habitats for reproduction, so they will be directly affected by changes in water quality due to climate changes or human uses.
  • Amphibians often have to move between habitats (such as from a body of water to an area of land). Disturbances (for example: roads, trails, and traffic) can affect the amphibians’ ability to move between habitats.
amphibians as bioindicators3
Amphibians as Bioindicators
  • Pollution can cause frogs to become malformed.
  • Causes for malformation of frogs include parasites, chemicals, and ultraviolet light.
parasites
Parasites
  • The parasite Ribeiroia ondatrae, a type of flatworm, appears to cause frog malformations.
  • Exposure to the parasite caused high frequencies of severe limb deformations to develop in several amphibian species.
  • Ribeiroia is not the only cause of frog malformation, as it was not found at all sites where malformed frogs were found.
  • Some evidence suggests that higher levels of nutrients are the cause of recent increases in the amount of Ribeiroia infections.
parasites5
Parasites

Life cycle of Ribeiroia ondatrae

chemicals
Chemicals
  • Pesticides are known to cause malformations or deaths of frogs when present in sufficient quantities.
  • Methoprene, an insecticide used to control mosquitoes, caused malformations in southern leopard frogs.
  • Endocrine disruptors, chemicals that interfere with development, and retinoic acid are being studied to determine whether they cause frog deformities.
  • High concentration of estrogen can also affect limb development.
ultraviolet light
Ultraviolet light
  • UV radiation has been shown to cause frog malformities in the laboratory.
  • Some organic compounds may become toxic when exposed to UV light.
sources
Sources
  • http://nhguide.dbs.umt.edu/index.php?c=amphibians&m=bioindicators
  • http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/fs-043-01/
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