20 Noviembre 2023

CNN | Director of CIS UNAB addresses the critical situation of amphibians on the planet

In an interview broadcast by CNN Chile, Dr. Claudio Azat, director of CIS UNAB, highlighted the importance of amphibians and all biodiversity for the planet's balance. He also emphasized that conservation efforts -when driven by governments, the private sector, and society- do make a difference.

A recent study in the scientific journal Nature revealed that climate change is emerging as one of the greatest threats to frogs, toads, salamanders, and caecilians. It also confirmed that amphibians continue to be the most endangered animal group on the planet: two out of five species are at risk of extinction.

The director of the Research Center for Sustainability of the Universidad Andrés Bello, Dr. Claudio Azat, the only Chilean scientist to participate in the study, was invited to the program Futuro 360° to address this problem and the importance of amphibians not only for the aquatic ecosystems of the planet, but also for humanity.

In the interview, Dr. Azat acknowledged that amphibians are not the most popular species on the planet and that there is a bias towards mammals when talking about conservation. However, the academic pointed out that there is one very relevant concept:

All species on the planet, whatever size they are, whatever shape they are, whatever color they are, are important. They have been on the planet long before human beings, and it is thanks to all species that we have planet Earth. Everything depends on biodiversity.

During the conversation, Claudio Azat referred, among other things, to the importance of amphibians as insect bio-controllers and as indicators of the health of freshwater ecosystems. In relation to the latter, he indicated: «Amphibians are very sensitive, for example, to water pollution because they have permeable skin, so when water is polluted, or a river dries up, these species disappear… it is a very fast and effective system to know that aquatic ecosystems are in poor condition, and an alert for human beings».

Although the global study in which the director of CIS UNAB participated shows the alarming situation for amphibians, it also gives a glimmer of hope, since it was detected that of the 120 species that improved their condition, half of them were the direct result of conservation efforts. In this sense, Claudio Azat points out:

Conservation, when financed by governments, by the private sector, and driven by society, has an impact.

Escrito por Pamela Alarcón