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Hopping the Gauntlet: Multiple Stressors and Amphibian Biodiversity
Wednesday, April 2, 2008 @ 7:30 PM-9:00 PM
Jon Chase, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biology, Division of Biology & Biomedical Sciences, Washington University in St. Louis
Amphibian declines have been observed across the world, in some of the most pristine habitats on earth. Because of their physiology, amphibians’ essentially, “absorb the world around them” through their skin, making them particularly susceptible to a litany of biotic (diseases, parasites, predators) and abiotic (pollutants) threats. Everything from the destruction of habitat, to the introduction of predators and diseases, to organic and inorganic pollutants, including those that make them hermaphrodites, seems to matter to amphibians. As a result, they are often likened to the “canaries in the coal mine,” indicating how anthropogenic activities may affect species in the communities around us.
In partnership with laboratory colleagues, faculty at other universities throughout the U.S., and state and federal agencies, Dr. Chase is using basic rules of community ecology to help to understand how amphibian biodiversity, along with the biodiversity of associated organisms, respond to anthropogenic changes. He discusses his collaborative work and how this information will be used to help guide restoration efforts of these communities.