Crisis biology

Amphibians are dying at record rates around the world, due, in part, to a nasty fungal disease we’ve helped spread. And another fungus is killing millions of bats in eastern North America. It all seems pretty hopeless…but there’s a group of scientists who aren’t discouraged. Instead, they’re trying to use anti-fungal bacteria (some of which naturally occurs on the skin of frogs, toads and bats) to help them fight the disease. It’s really creative, fascinating and important work — but it’s also really difficult. I wrote about it in my latest story for High Country News.

Endandered boreal toads mating. They're threatened by the chytrid fungus. Courtesy U.S. Geological Survey.

Endandered boreal toads mating. They’re threatened by the chytrid fungus. Courtesy U.S. Geological Survey.