PRESERVATION OF ENDANGERED SPECIES
In recent years biodiversity, conservation of habitat and species conservation have always been the most important and well-known topics, also for people who don’t belong to the scientific community. Even if the term “biodiversity” is used in a different sense compared to its real meaning, the discussion about it allows everyone to understand the fragile connections among human beings, other species and the nature of our Planet.
A particular class of animals, Amphibians, is a good indicator of the health state of our ecosystems anywhere in the world. In many areas of the Earth there is a rapid decrease in the number of species and some have completely disappeared. Among the causes of these phenomena, there are often events that we might call macroscopic as they can be perceived by everyone, including for instance the destruction of habitat through deforestation and the depletion of some habitats due to anthropogenic processes.
However, the causes can also be often microscopic and derive from effects that cannot be perceived by everyone because apparently invisible. Among these there is a lethal disease, the Chytridiomycosis, which is caused by a fungus whose scientific name is Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. The discovery of this fungus is very recent, dating back to just over a decade ago, and it is unfortunately expanding rapidly. Its origin seems to be from Africa and it then spread to other continents. Attacks the skin of amphibians and in particular a vital component…the creatine. Once affected, individuals probably become more susceptible to the adverse effects of UV rays, pollution and parasites to bring death.
Herpetologists and researchers from various Italian Universities, including the University of Genoa, are carrying out field surveys to detect the presence or absence of chytrid. The images that you can see here show the work of a students group with professors and researchers in a ‘location of study’ where are show all procedure, correct and incorrect, and the analysis for a correct study.
Unfortunately, it was also confirmed on the Italian territory and the effects were assessed on some species including for example Bombina pachypus, Ichthyosaura alpestris, Triturus carnifex. However, at the moment, the ligurian species appear to be in a good condition.