Feeds

Hunt for murderer of lost golden cloud toads hots up

Who 'pulled trigger' on el-Dorado sky forest amphibians?

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

A long-running boffinry brouhaha regarding the disappearance of a rare golden toad has taken a new turn, with the latest team of scientists insisting that in fact human-driven climate change was not responsible for the creatures' demise.

Tree sampling in the Monteverde cloud forest. Credit: Jorge Porras

Toad-murder detectives at work in the cloud forests.

The auric amphibians in question were the renowned golden toads of the Monteverde cloud forest on the Pacific coastal mountains of Costa Rica. The small, wantable creatures went the way of the dodo back in the 1980s, and are frequently cited by warming alarmists as having been done for by rising global temperatures.

The toads were actually snuffed by a pathogenic fungus known as chytrid, but scientists on both sides of the debate agree that the killer fungus' effects were enhanced by an unusually dry spell in the Monteverde cloud forests during 1986-87. The drying caused the moisture-loving money toads to gather in a limited number of puddles to reproduce, causing the deadly chytrid rot-plague to spread rapidly.

Warmist researchers argue that the late-eighties dry spell was the result of man-made, carbon driven global warming.

“Disease is the bullet killing frogs, but climate change is pulling the trigger,” according to leading frog boffin J Alan Pounds of the Monteverde nature reserve.

However a new study argues that in fact the toad-slaying dry spell was within the normal variation of the cloud forests' climate, and was in fact caused by a pronouced El Niño - a normal variation in Pacific currents which affects weather patterns worldwide - at that time.

“El Niño pulled the trigger,” contends Kevin Anchukaitis of Columbia uni in the States.

“There’s no comfort in knowing that the golden toad’s extinction was the result of El Niño and an introduced pathogen, because climate change will no doubt play a role in future extinctions,” he adds.

Anchukaitis' team used one of the warmist tendency's favourite weapons, that of tree-growth analysis, to generate wetness statistics back into the past of the cloud forests. Actual tree rings aren't so much seen in the tropics, where growth rates are more constant round the year, so isotopic oxygen measurements were made in samples drilled from the Costa Rican trees.

The extinct golden toad of the Monteverde cloud forests. Credit: US Fish & Wildlife Service

There was gold in them thar hills.

The new study, clearing humanity on the charge of murdering the golden toads of the cloud forests with our selfish habits, is titled Tropical cloud forest climate variability and the demise of the Monteverde golden toad. It is available online for subscribers to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Pounds, however, is sticking firmly to his belief that we carbon-spewing westerners killed the golden toad. He says he has detailed files collected over forty years showing that the cloud forests are going to hell.

“Anyone paying close attention to living systems in the wild is aware that our planet is in serious trouble,” he says. “It's just a matter of time before this becomes painfully obvious to everyone.” ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Bond villains lament as Wicked Lasers withdraw death ray
Want to arm that shark? Better get in there quick
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
The next big thing in medical science: POO TRANSPLANTS
Your brother's gonna die, kid, unless we can give him your, well ...
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.