Since the 1970s, over 90 amphibian species have been driven to extinction by a particular fungus called ‘Batrachochytrium Dendrobatidis’. This fungus which goes by the short-hand name ‘Bd’ is now considered to be one of the most deadly pathogens in the world. In addition to the 90 extinct species, 124 species are critically endangered to the point where a recovery seems unlikely.
Amphibians contain the protein keratin in their thin skin which Bd attacks and eats through until it starts to affect the organism’s organs. The amphibian will start excessively shedding their skin and have a reddish colour. Eventually the affected organs result in the creature having a cardiac arrest and then death. Unfortunately, the disease is able to spread very swiftly and easily in infected waters and is incredibly difficult to keep under control.
The disease originated on the Korean peninsula and was quick to spread throughout the entire world due to infected animals being exported as trade goods to other countries. In total now, 1 in 16 amphibians species has been affected but researchers argue that the overall effects.
Activists are fighting for minimal transportation of amphibians around the world to assuage the deadly effects of Bd on ecosystems. At the very least, every single amphibian being traded should be tested for Bd which is not something that is currently in place.
Biologists would be wise to explore the devastating effects of Bd on ecosystems as a potential research topic for the personal statement. Geographers can focus on the human handling of ecosystems that help to propogate the disease on a global scale.
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