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Students find frog-killing fungus in Kansas

Associated Press - December 1, 2013 9:32 pm

Wichita State University's new Innovation Campus will rapidly expand in the next few months.

An amphibian-killing fungus has turned up in streams and ponds in Kansas, raising concerns among biologists.

The Wichita Eagle reports that the discovery was made by students working with biologist Mary Liz Jameson in her Wichita State University field ecology class. Called chytrid, the infectious disease has killed millions of frogs worldwide.

Jameson calls the discovery a “huge, big deal.” She says frogs aren’t becoming resistant to the fungus. And she worries that the die-off of amphibians from chytrid is a sort of canary-in-the-coal-mine warning, that humans using toxins, pesticides, herbicides and antibiotics might be creating unforeseen problems.

One of her graduate students, Timothy Eberl, said a news release that the discovery has implications beyond the death of frogs. He says there may be a “trickle-down effect.”

Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle