Step outside on a warm night, and you may hear a familiar chorus of frogs. But one day, in some areas, this song may go silent.

Field work photo
Wendy Palen and team conducting field work. (Photo courtesy of Wendy Palen)

Globally, about a third of amphibian species face extinction because of habitat loss, pollution, invasive species . . . and now global warming.

Wendy Palen of Simon Fraser University studies frogs in the Pacific Northwest. She says because frogs start their lives in water and then move to land, they’re vulnerable to climate threats in both habitats.

For example, drought can be devastating for frog eggs and tadpoles.

Wendy Palen
Wendy Palen

Palen: “If the eggs have been deposited in a wetland earlier in the summer, and the water all dries up, then the eggs and the tadpoles all die.”

Tadpoles that do survive to adulthood will face new climate threats, such as shorter winters.

Palen says the longer it takes for winter to set in, the longer frogs stay on the edge of hibernation . . . where they may burn too much fat and energy, and end up weakened come spring.

Palen: “So, what our research group is trying to do is add up all these complicated ways that climate change can affect these frogs to understand what does it mean in total?”

Frogs, which live in water and on land, face climate threats in both places. Click To Tweet

So that beloved chorus of frogs could be a warning call.

Reporting credit: Les Vonderlin/ChavoBart Digital Media.

More Resources
Climate Change Double Whammy
Save the Frogs: Climate Change & Global Warming
Climate Change Could Leave Pacific Northwest Amphibians High and Dry
Projecting the Hydrologic Impacts of Climate Change on Montane Wetlands

Topics: Species & Ecosystems