Facing Extinction in Real Time

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Science  02 Mar 2012:
Vol. 335, Issue 6072, pp. 1052-1053
DOI: 10.1126/science.1218364

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A sense of impending doom has enveloped the community of amphibian biologists for more than two decades, as evidence has built that the subjects of their research are in severe difficulty. What at first was a puzzle based mainly on anecdotes (1) became an evident fact when intensive studies were completed: Throughout the world, amphibians are in decline, and many species—perhaps 40%—face imminent extinction (2). Recent studies have elucidated some agents for amphibian losses and projected the likely prospects for amphibian survival across the globe. The picture that emerges is disturbing.