A new study on deformities in frogs and other amphibians offers more signs that a parasite might be causing the problems. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Chuck Quirmbach reports:
A new study on deformities in frogs and other amphibians offers more signs that a parasite may
be causing the problems. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Chuck Quirmbach reports:
The study is in the magazine Conservation Biology. University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate
student Pieter Johnson led the study. His team looked a half-century of research on extra legs and
other deformities in amphibians. Johnson says a lot of the deformities have occurred in bodies of
water that contain a parasitic flatworm.
He says the number of those malformation “hot spots” is growing. Johnson says he’s now looking
at whether pollution is making it easier for the parasite to affect the frogs.
“Pesticide contamination has been suggested to inhibit the immune response of amphibians and
that could be increasing their susceptibility to infection.”
Johnson says fertilizer pollution may also be indirectly increasing the number of parasites. Other
scientists are praising Johnson’s work, but say it’s too soon to think that parasitic flatworms are
the only cause of the deformities.
For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Chuck Quirmbach.
Four Great Lakes states have some of the most severe cases of mercury contamination in the country. That’s according to a recent report by the group Environmental Defense. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Erin Toner has more:
Four Great Lakes states have some of the most severe cases of mercury contamination in the
country. That’s according to a recent report by the group “Environmental Defense.” The Great
Lakes Radio Consortium’s Erin Toner has more:
Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Pennsylvania made the group’s top 10 list of places with the worst
mercury pollution. Mercury can cause brain damage in babies whose mothers eat contaminated
fish. The report says mercury in the ground and water often comes from local sources, such as
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is working on new mercury rules for power plants.
But Michael Shore, of Environmental Defense, says the rules aren’t strong enough.
Other sectors have been required to reduce their mercury pollution by 90 percent. These
standards would only reduce mercury pollution by 70 percent. Also, these standards wouldn’t be
in place until 2018.
The EPA’s policy could use a market-based approach. That allows companies to buy pollution
credits from others that have emission controls in place. Environmentalists say instead, the EPA
should force all power companies to pollute less.
For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Erin Toner.
Ultraviolet light, which some scientists say may be the culprit behind
the Great Lake’s epidemic of mutated frogs, is now part of an
investigation into a smaller but equally important part of the
environmental web. Scientists in Duluth are looking into the viruses
that infect bacteria in the Great Lakes, and how increasing amounts of
U-V light might affect that relationship. The Great Lakes Radio
Consortium’s Stephanie Hemphill reports:
Scientists say they’re getting closer to finding out what’s causingfrog deformities in the Great Lakes Region. Some contend that chemicalpollution has become the prime suspect. But others say theinvestigation still needs to look elsewhere. The Great Lakes RadioConsortium’s Chuck Quirmbach reports: