Archive for March 14th, 2008

Amphibians: Indicator Species

Friday, March 14th, 2008

Passport to Texas from Texas Parks and Wildlife and the Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration Program

Amphibians are good indicator species because they live on land and in water during their lifecycle.

Amphibians, because of their very lifestyle, you can imagine are sensitive to a lot of changes in our environment. They’re kind of canaries in the coal mine.

Lee Ann Linam coordinates the Texas Amphibian Watch program. Because of their land/water lifestyle and semi permeable skin, amphibians experience the best and worst of both worlds.

They’re affected by habitat loss, by broader changes in the world around them. Things like climate change that may shift rainfall patterns. Or, they’re sensitive to UV radiation, so those kinds of changes can affect them. They’re sensitive to environmental contaminants that can be absorbed through their skin. So, you can see that they’re kind of a good picture of the overall ecosystem health.

If that’s the case, humans better pay attention.

A recent assessment by an international group of scientists showed that somewhere between one-third and one-half of all the six thousand amphibian species in the world are in trouble. One hundred and twenty-two of them are already extinct as far as we know. And so this is a rate of extinction that perhaps is unprecedented in this period of time.

Help monitor the health of amphibians. Find out how at

That’s our show… For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.