Not-so-good change in frogland

Not all change is good.  Just ask the frogs.

According to an article this month in Scientific American: “First identified in 1999, B. dendrobatidis, or Bd, a fungal zoospore, has been named as a leading cause of a global amphibian population decline, including frogs and salmanders. Scientists estimate it accounts for the extirpation or extinction of 200 species, including the disappearance of mountain yellow-legged frogs from several watersheds in the Sierras since the mid-1990s. Once plentiful, both species have now disappeared from 93 percent of their historic range.”

Enter JMU biology professor Reid Harris. Harris and his colleagues have discovered an antidote of sorts that has the potential for saving the frogs. These JMU scientists, with the assistance of graduate and undergraduate students, discovered a bacterium present on frog skin, which offers a protection from the deadly fungus. According to an article by Eric Gorton, editor of JMU’s Madison Scholar, “His (Reid’s) tests in laboratory dishes have shown that bacteria found on the skin of some red-backed salamanders repels a deadly fungus that is being blamed in part for widespread amphibian deaths and even extinction.”

Reid’s research has many biologists excited. It’s science that may change a not-so-good change.

To read the entire Scientific American story, click here:  http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=skin-fight-bacteria-frogs

To read more about Reid Harris’ research, check out the full Madison Scholar article:  http://www.jmu.edu/news/madisonscholar/ReidHarris.shtml

And by the way, Madison Scholar is a great way to keep up with JMU’s exciting research.

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About James Madison University
This blog is about the people of James Madison University — a caring, committed and engaged community spread all over the world, making lives better and brighter, healthier and safer, kinder and bolder. As Gandhi suggested, we are taking steps to BE the CHANGE we wish to see in the world. And these are our stories....

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