- Associated Press - Sunday, May 31, 2015

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Federal and university scientist have found new evidence that Alaska wood frogs may be hurt by warming water and pollution.

The state’s wood frogs and other North America amphibians have been affected by something that’s deforming and killing them.

Frogs in southcentral and eastern interior Alaska have been detected with missing limbs, abnormal eyes and other physical problems, the Alaska Dispatch News (https://bit.ly/1AGk8fS) reported.

Researchers from Alaska Pacific University, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the University of California, Davis in a study published in the journal Ecosphere conclude that wood frog tadpoles found in warmer water that contains minute traces of copper are attacked more quickly and frequently than tadpoles in clear, cooler water.

In a laboratory study, tadpoles spent more time swimming deep if the water was clean, said Mari Reeves, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ecologist. Tadpoles in water with copper spent more time being stationary and near the surface, making them vulnerable to attack that could damage their bodies.

Reeves contends that copper in minute amounts interferes with frogs’ ability to get oxygen in the same way it interferes with fish gills and the ability of fish to get oxygen.

The source of the copper could be tiny particles worn off of car brake pads. Some states are considering bans on copper in brake pads because of the effects on wildlife, Reeves said.

A national program to examine die-offs and deformities of amphibians was launched in 2000.

A 10-year national study by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found hotspots for wood frog deformities in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge and the Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge.

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Information from: Alaska Dispatch News, https://www.adn.com

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