Frogs of the world need you to be a science detective and help solve a scientific mystery, The Case of the Vanishing Golden Frogs.
Scientists are after a serial killer--one guilty of killing so many frogs that some kinds no longer exist outside of safe places, like zoos.
Can you identify the killer in time to save the Panamanian golden frogs?
Can you find a way to stop this killer before even more kinds of frogs become victims?
Karen Lips discovered the first frog victims. Read pages 6 and 7 to find out:
1) When did she make this discovery?
2) Where in the world were the bodies?
3) Why was it important that the dead frogs were not decayed?
Just as detectives get help from a Medical Examiner, Karen Lips turned to a pathologist, someone who studies diseases.
Here's the clue the pathologist discovered when he looked at a sample of the frog victim's skin with a microscope. Check it out on page 8. He reported that it wasn't like anything he'd ever seen before.
So Karen Lips decided to check out the three usual suspects that kill animals:
*Habitat (home territory) Destruction
Why is habitat destruction bad for frogs and other animals?
But the land where the golden frogs lived proved to be okay and untouched.
Water pollution can kill frogs. Why was this what was killing golden frogs?
What two things did Karen Lips then check out to prove climate change wasn’t the frog killer?
Joyce Longcore finally identified the frog killer as a chytrid fungus, a kind of plantlike living things. What did she see that let her figure out this was the killer? Dig into this on pages 18 and 19
Because she was the first to identify this new kind of chytrid fungus, Joyce was allowed to name it. She called it Batachochytrium dendrobatidis--Bd for short.
Now that the killer's identity is known, your job is to stop it from killing more golden frogs.
So you'll need to find out these two things about how this killer attacks its victims? Use the clues you've already discovered to answer these questions.
1) Who's more at risk--adult golden frogs or tadpoles?
2) In what kinds of environmental conditions is Bd most likely to kill?
Armed with that profile of the killer you can help the scientific SWAT team save Panamanian golden frogs from being killed by Bd.
Now, find out what was done to help golden frogs survive while scientists tried to stop Bd from killing them.
Here the steps each frog went through coming from its infected habitat to its new safe site.
*Carry golden frogs in plastic bags to cleaning sites.
*Ship healthy frogs to zoos with special golden frog habitats.
*Breed golden frogs in zoo habitats to maintain the golden frog population.
*Collect both male and female golden frogs from their wild habitat.
*Treat captured golden frogs with a fungus-killing chemical for ten days.
Golden frogs aren't the only frogs at risk. Even where you live, frogs are in danger from Bd. They may also be at risk because of habitat destruction, polluted water or climate change.
It's time for you to help launch OPERATION SAVE OUR FROGS.
First, find out what kinds of frogs, such as bullfrogs or leopard frogs, live in your area. Ask a local park ranger, someone at the local library, or someone at a local zoo.
Next, learn more about each kind of local frog and make a booklet with a chapter for each local kind of frog. Draw and color a picture of it. Also tell the following information:
*How big is an adult?
*What does it eat as an adult? As a tadpole?
*What kind of conditions does it need to live as an adult? As a tadpole?
Find out if chytrids are a problem locally and, if so, what can be done to protect the frogs. Would one of the ideas you had for getting rid of chytrids possibly work? If you think it would, share your idea with someone in your local environmental protection agency or with your teacher.
Check out these efforts being done to save frogs around the world.
Are frogs worth so much detective work and effort?
Definitely! Without frogs there would be lots more insects in the world eating our food crops and spreading diseases to plants, animals, and people.
We need to solve The Case of the Vanishing Golden Frogs for the sake of Panimanian golden frogs, all the world's frogs--and for ourselves.