Toiling to Save a Threatened Frog

In Dusy Basin, a remote glacial valley in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks a few miles west of Bishop Pass, Vance Vredenburg, a professor of biology at San Francisco State University, is conducting an experiment he hopes will help preserve what remains of these once abundant creatures. Dr. Vredenburg and his colleagues are inoculating chytrid-infected frogs with a bacteria, Janthinobacterium lividum, or J. liv, that does not prevent infection with chytrid but can help frogs survive.

Moutain Yellow-Legged Frog, photo by Vance Vredenburg

Dr. Vredenburg, Reid Harris of James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va., and colleagues found the symbiotic bacteria on several amphibian species. Lab experiments last year showed that J. liv produces a metabolite, violacein, that is toxic to the chytrid fungus. Dr. Vredenburg wants to see how effective the treatment will be in the wild.

Read more, view audio slide show, see pix: New York Times / Science

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