Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Solving the mystery of the deformed frogs
"For the last two decades, strange things have been happening to frogs. Some frog populations have high rates of limb deformities, while others have high incidences of what is known as 'intersex' — traits associated with both males and females, such as male frogs whose testes contain eggs. David K. Skelly, professor of ecology at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, set out to discover what was causing these deformities, which some researchers were attributing to the use of an agricultural pesticide called atrazine. Skelly launched an experiment in ponds throughout Connecticut, studying frogs in four landscapes: forests, agricultural areas, suburbs, and cities. And what he found was surprising — the highest rates of deformities were not occurring in and around farmlands, but in cities and suburbs."