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Climate Change Killing Frogs, Say BBC

May 13, 2019
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By Paul Homewood

 

 

Today’s climate junk from the BBC:

 

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Climate change is having an impact on frogs found in British ponds, research suggests.

A deadly frog disease is spreading due to warmer temperatures and in the next 50 years could cause entire populations to vanish, according to a study.

The virus could spell disaster for the common frog, which is a familiar sight in garden ponds and the countryside.

Amphibians have been particularly hard hit by changes in the natural world.

Four out of 10 species are on the edge of extinction globally due to factors such as disease, habitat loss and climate change.

The study provides "strong evidence" of the impact of climate change on wildlife disease and how it might aid the spread of the virus across the UK, said Dr Stephen Price of ZSL’s Institute of Zoology.

"Climate change isn’t something that’s just happening in faraway places – it’s something real and present that’s already had hard-to-predict impacts on wildlife in our own back gardens here in the UK," he said.

The prospect of entire populations of frogs being wiped out is "a real sadness" given the fond memories many people have of pond dipping and collecting tadpoles, he added.

The research looked at a disease known as ranavirus, which can kill a large number of frogs in a short time. It found mass die-offs matched historic temperature changes, with outbreaks predicted to become more severe, widespread and over a greater proportion of the year within the next few decades, if carbon emissions continue unchecked.

At present, the disease is confined largely to England, but climate change could lead to outbreaks across the UK and earlier in the year. If the disease were to hit tadpoles in spring, then whole populations could disappear "almost overnight", said the researchers.

Prof Trenton Garner of ZSL said that while there were some options for mitigation, this is only a short-term solution. "If we don’t eventually slow and reverse human-driven climate change, we unfortunately can only expect things to get worse for our amphibians," he said.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-48219217

 

Isn’t it interesting that the authors of all of these junk science studies always seems to add a comment about fossil fuels, directly or indirectly?

 

The ZSL study specifically states:

 The research conducted by ZSL, UCL, Queen Mary University of London and University of Plymouth used a three-pronged approach involving cell cultures, live models and historic data from the Met Office and Froglife’s Frog Mortality Project, with the research demonstrating that warm weather where temperatures reach 16°C, dramatically increases the risk of Ranavirus causing a disease outbreak in common frogs.

The findings help explain the seasonality of the disease, with incidence peaking during the hottest months of the summer, showing that climate change could see outbreaks becoming more frequent from April to October. Disease outbreaks in the spring could result in the deaths of large numbers of tadpoles, which could have repercussions for population survival.

The fact that the disease peaks in summer months simply reflects that this is the time when frogs are most active. As for the warmer springs, there is no evidence that these are getting warmer in England:

 

England Mean daily maximum temp - April

England Mean daily maximum temp - May

 https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/summaries/actualmonthly

 

Scientists who have already investigated the spread of ranavirus tell a different story, as Frog Life relate:

 

In the late 1980s a number of unusual Common Frog mortalities were reported to Froglife in the southeast of England. Frogs were found to be suffering from a variety of symptoms, sometimes with secondary bacterial infections. It was found the frogs were suffering from a disease called ranavirus.

After a dramatic increase in cases in the southeast throughout the late 1980s, the Frog Mortality Project was set up to monitor and report on the extent of this disease in the UK.   The project is a joint partnership between the Institute of Zoology (IoZ) at the Zoological Society of London and Froglife. The project has received thousands of disease reports and has collected information on the deaths of over 85,000 frogs. …

Isolation of the virus from a number of garden ponds enabled a comparison with other ranaviruses from around the world and – based on similarities between the viruses – a likely introduction to Britain from North America was suggested.

How this introduction occurred is still not known but suspicion lingers around the involvement of imported amphibian species (e.g. Bullfrogs) as well as goldfish (since some ranaviruses infect fish).

Originally the disease was found in southeast England but since then it has spread across the UK. It’s been recorded in Cornwall, Cardiff, Lancashire and Newcastle. There are often ‘hot-spots’ of disease – clusters of incidents reported in one area – but it’s unclear how it jumps from one location to another.

https://www.froglife.org/what-we-do/disease-ranavirus-2/

 

In other words, as with most diseases, ranavirus is spreading as a result of human activity, in this case probably importing frogs and fish.

The initial outbreak occurred in the southeast, where it dramatically expanded in the 1980s. As is the case with these things, it has inevitably spread further north and west. The new study mistakenly attributes that to climate, but it is really just geography.

Ironically the BBC themselves looked at the matter in 2016, and came to totally different conclusions then:

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Garden ponds are playing a role in the spread of deadly frog diseases across the UK, a study suggests.

Ranaviruses can infect amphibians, reptiles and fish. In the UK, they have devastated common frog populations.

This research suggests that the introduction of infected animals from aquatic retailers into ponds or moving species between different ponds may be exacerbating the problem.

The findings are published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Dr Trent Garner, from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), told BBC News: "The virus seems to be spreading at a rate that exceeds the ability of a frog to hop, and there seems to be human-aided dispersal of the virus."

To analyse the movement of the disease in the UK, scientists looked at two decades of data recorded by a citizen science scheme called the Frog Mortality Project, which is now coordinated through Garden Wildlife Health.

Genetic records suggested that ranavirus was not always present in the UK, and had probably been introduced to the UK on two separate occasions.

The study also found that while infection is spread by the natural movement of amphibians, garden ponds could also be playing a key role.

Ranavirus is one of the most serious health threats currently facing the UK’s amphibian population Dr Stephen Price, UCL

Dr Garner said: "Potentially garden ponds can act as stepping stones for infected animals to move around and reach new sites."

He said that taking frogspawn or frogs from one pond and placing them in another could be helping to spread ranavirus.

"There are also other species that could potentially carry ranavirus – ornamental fish for example. So I do think there is a case to be made to investigate their role in infections."

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-37486904

 

Note that this is the same Dr Trent Garner, who is now spouting pseudo climate clap trap. Back in 2016, he admitted that the disease was spreading “faster than frogs can hop”. The spread of the disease was likely due to human activity.

Garner also admitted that ranavirus was not always present in the UK, and had likely been introduced here on two separate occasions.

As with most viruses, immunity eventually is built up, and there is evidence that this is already occurring in the population of British frogs.

But in the meantime, the disease will doubtlessly spread far and wide, as all diseases do. And it will have nothing to do with climate change.

27 Comments
  1. Ian Magness permalink
    May 13, 2019 10:57 am

    Comrade Macron will come to the rescue…

    • Ian Magness permalink
      May 13, 2019 11:13 am

      He always was a great advocate of the CAP (Common Amphibian Policy).

    • jack broughton permalink
      May 13, 2019 12:54 pm

      But they might eat them, our eco-loonies would not like that either!

  2. john cooknell permalink
    May 13, 2019 11:33 am

    Well intentioned people who have too much frogspawn or tadpoles in their garden ponds spread the disease by transferring the surplus to other locations.

    Nothing to do with Climate Change.

  3. Adam Gallon permalink
    May 13, 2019 11:49 am

    I’ve noticed how every program on Al-Beeb recently, seems to be pushing the climate change agenda. They’re working it in everywhere.

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      May 13, 2019 1:03 pm

      Country File was doing reduced Salmon numbers, of course CC was mentioned. To solve the mystery scientists were stressing small parr by catching them in rotating traps, subjecting them to chemical anesthetic, slicing them open to implant a radio-tag as big as their head, then setting them free to see where they are dying.

      About 2 minutes downstream I should imagine.

      • Ian Magness permalink
        May 13, 2019 2:00 pm

        Yes, and there was of course no mention of the fact that salmon catches in nearly all British rivers have been going down for generations, regardless of the climate. They even showed pictures of seals – as if their predation was in the same league as the losses to oceanic netting. The article was beyond pathetic.

      • Leevi Kirsimäe permalink
        May 13, 2019 8:33 pm

        terrihle, horrible

  4. Dodgy Geezer permalink
    May 13, 2019 11:59 am

    I thought that the French were quite green, because they used nuclear reactors….??

  5. Graeme No.3 permalink
    May 13, 2019 12:19 pm

    If this is so serious what are they doing to save the species? No good waffling to the BBC, nothing will happen. Try isolating breeding stocks, they won’t take up much space nor much money. If you aren’t already doing so, then we know you don’t think the problem is serious and we can ignore you.

  6. jack broughton permalink
    May 13, 2019 12:51 pm

    So far as I am aware frogs survive in far warmer and far colder climes than the UK.
    I hope that the majority of the population are recognising the clap-trap and hype spewing from the BBC and similar outlets. They certainly would if they knew the true cost of all this dogma.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      May 13, 2019 4:53 pm

      A few years ago – the winter of 2010, I think – my pond froze over to quite a depth and when it thawed I found the bodies of 26 frogs coming out of the ice. Can I claim this one point trend as evidence of global cooling?

  7. MrGrimNasty permalink
    May 13, 2019 12:59 pm

    Amphibians are under threat because of the ranavirus and chytrid fungi which have been spread around by humans with poor Bio-security – by the pet trade, and ironically, probably environmental scientists.

    The Ranavirus is no mystery, it was introduced in the 80s with ornamental pond fish imports.

    Sadly I stocked my pond at this time and the results were devastating. whereas the lawn used to be alive with frogs after rain, there are only now a few stragglers.

    Newts/toads seem less affected, and the newt population has exploded. Frog tadpoles also seem unaffected, only seems to get adult frogs.

    Climate change has nothing to do with the devastation of Ranavirus as the trigger temperature sufficient for mass mortality has always been commonly experienced in the whole of the UK.

    It seems to me all the amphibians/fish in an affected pond have the disease, and with the first hot spell each year there will be a mass death. A few individuals seem more resistant and recover, breed, then the next year it starts all over again.

  8. Tim Spence permalink
    May 13, 2019 1:41 pm

    Two Costa Rica studies came up with conflicting verdicts, one decided that highland frog species would be ‘hardest hit’ by climate change, the other study concluded that lowland frogs were most likely to be ‘hardest hit’ by climate change. (I think I still have the links if anyone requests them)

    Climate science, can be summed up thus … no problem, no research grants.

    There are other studies that suggest frogs might jump longer distances dues to climate change or jump shorter distances due to climate change. It appears that frogs are ‘easy meat’ for climate scare stories, and they are having a concerted push in fear stories at the moment.

  9. Tim. permalink
    May 13, 2019 3:04 pm

    We have 3 ponds. One is a wood water butt, the second a plastic shaped pond. The third is an old porcelain sink. Frogs breed in the first two, but the taddies never develop into frogs. We put some spawn in the sink where they hatch and are then transferred back to the other ponds. They then successfully develop. Blackbirds have learned to fish for tadpoles, another hazard they face.

    • Tim. permalink
      May 13, 2019 3:06 pm

      …the second a plastic kidney shaped….

  10. Phonenix44 permalink
    May 13, 2019 4:05 pm

    What makes me really mad about this, is that there is probably an actual, real problem here, but instead of dealing with the real issue – the introduction of a new strain of virus that our frogs have little resistance to – we end up with CO2 getting the blame.

    It’s the same with this plastic idiocy – the problem isn’t our plastic bags or straws from McDonalds, its recycled plastic getting dumped and fishing gear. But how much easier it is to stop the stuff that is not the problem and feel good.

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      May 13, 2019 7:09 pm

      Yep, as long as political ideology classifies plastic waste as a valuable (when in fact it is worthless) resource to be reclaimed, rather than fuel for heat/power generation, plastic pollution in the oceans will persist.

      Was it the One Show where they had the studio filled with beach picked waste, 99.9% fish boxes, trawler nets, lobster pot fragments etc. then went on about banning straws!

  11. tom0mason permalink
    May 13, 2019 5:17 pm

    So for the BBC Darwin’s idea of the ‘Survival of the Fittest’ does not exist or apply. Maybe it’s all due to the aged doom-mister Addleborough’s effect on the Boll0cks Broadcasting Consensus.

  12. Jon Scott permalink
    May 13, 2019 5:53 pm

    The BBC is in full retard mode right now. The veil is down…. any half baked “study” has the term climate change inserted and shock horror put out to worry people. They did this two weeks ago with “Sinking island in the Sundarbans Delta” in Bangladesh. They start with the classic unsubstantiated “Scientists say”… global warming has caused melting snow and ice to swell the rivers, and the sea level has risen. Which snow and ice swelling which rivers exactly? Who are these scientists you may ask who do the BBC’s “Scientists say” daily doom moment?
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/world-asia-india-47560991/sinking-island-in-the-sundarbans-delta
    Watch the video and the one time farmer fisherman even tells us what the most obvious problem is ….the river he says has taken away his farm! That is bank erosion nothing whatsoever to do with drowning.

    My attention was caught because I know a bit about deltas…. not good places to live at all. But sedimentologically they are interesting because they often form reservoirs for oil and gas so have been studied in detail. The first point is that Deltas by their very nature subside. That is what deltas do all on their own. It is caused by dewatering so under the weight of the over burden the sands deeper expel the water therefore compressing. Secondly deltas usually form into a depression so “prograde” meaning they move out into a basin. Commonly they fail….by faulting and slumping towards the basis. Deltas only survive above water if there is a constant replenishment of the sediment and when sub aerially exposed you can see there is a problem with sediment input.
    I found an ok paper on this very place. Not a single mention of sea level
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/326648752_Substantial_land_subsidence_and_its_impact_on_Kalinagar_Sundarban_Delta_West_Bengal
    Has been written on the subject. They put the erosion of the island as totally due to a phenomenon called “toe erosion”. I would say it is just one more form of erosion bot NOWHERE do they bleat on about snow melting where the river actively undercuts its banks and they collapse into the river. Put people on the banks and you accelerate this process…. same as patting the sand on a beach…. liquefaction takes place if you bounce up and down on it. Underneath where the people are living liquefies and is easily eroded by the river.
    What makes me angry is that it took me less than 30 seconds to find this paper….. why could the BBC not do this….unless they had a news piece about this island getting smaller and thought how to sex it up….”hey take this and throw in climate change young 12 year old moonlighting school striking for the planet ignoramus.”. My point is, who are the scientist who conflate sea level rise and snow melt somewhere and then blame this problem on it? WHO?

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      May 13, 2019 6:34 pm

      Thank you. Top quality comment.

  13. Rambling Don Trumpo permalink
    May 13, 2019 6:26 pm

    “(CC has) already had hard-to-predict impacts on wildlife..”
    The past is another country – you never know what they might do there.

  14. sophocles permalink
    May 14, 2019 3:08 am

    Trust the Beeb to ignore all past epidemiology experience. In or about 1995, we had a mutated salmonella pass through the sparrow (English sparrows had been introduced to NZ in the 19C) resulting in a large die-off.

    But they didn’t die out. Their numbers reduced significantly, to the point where they weren’t particularly visible. But after about ten years, their population had recovered and they are now back their usual pest proportions.

    Evolution ensures a core of a population of any animal harbours an immunity which permits the population to rebound from almost any disease including Popular Press Prejudice Syndrome (which includes Fake Facts and Fallacious Reasoning). The frog population will most likely follow the same curve with a few in the population being naturally immune. It’s the same epidemiology behind mankind’s survival of diseases such as rubella, tubercolosis and smallpox — before the Pasteurs invented vaccines. My thanks to them.

  15. Pancho Plail permalink
    May 14, 2019 9:22 am

    Well, there you have it. The article in Frog Life refers to hot spot s for the disease, and what causes hot spots – global warming!

  16. Gerry, England permalink
    May 14, 2019 1:47 pm

    I was stunned by the actions of so called environmentalists when reading Jim Steel’s Landscapes and Cycles book. The chytrid fungi was spreading around the world so a plan was to gather frogs from areas yet to be affected so that once a solution was found there could be repopulation. But since the environ-mentalists were banging their global warming drum and claiming it was the cause of the spread, they campaigned against the rescue project and caused at least one extinction. It certainly enlightened me as to what tossers most of them are. A very good book to read.

  17. May 14, 2019 3:58 pm

    Over the last 30 years we have lost our hedgehogs – hedge at the bottom of the garden – and most of the frogs from our pond, though 400 yards away his pond is thriving. The greefinches have gone but you can’t move for sparrows and the blue-tits are breeding as normal. Little has changed in a two mile radius. So can I blame climate change localised to our garden for the frogs as it obviously doesn’t extend to the neighbour 400 yards away I’ll try the idea above about raising some tadpoles separately.

    • Tim. permalink
      May 15, 2019 8:39 pm

      A possible reason for the loss of frogs in the wild might be Backswimmers, which I have seen described as 1.5 cm carniverous monsters which stab their victims (Tadpoles) with their feeding beak, injecting them with a poison that paralysis them and liquifies thie insides. I can vouch for this as I’ve also been attacked by them, though my liquified insides may be down to the amount of cider I drink. This year we have no backswimmers, so plenty of tadpoles. Last year I could count the backswimmers in dozens.

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