News of the WeekAmphibian Decline

Life and Death Play Out on the Skins of Frogs

Science  23 Oct 2009:
Vol. 326, Issue 5952, pp. 507-508
DOI: 10.1126/science.326_507

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On page 582 of this week's issue of Science, researchers go a long way toward solving the mystery of how a fungal infection has been killing amphibians worldwide. They find that the fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, causes such severe electrolyte imbalances that the frog's heart stops. This insight follows other, potentially promising findings reported in March and in late August that certain skin bacteria can protect against fungal infection.