For the first time, scientists have linked climate change to a specific mechanism
of doom for one of North America's amphibians.
The plump, lumpy western toad, Bufo boreas, has been declining even in relatively
pristine havens like the heights of the Cascade Mountains in Oregon, laments
Joseph M. Kiesecker of Pennsylvania State University in State College. He and his
colleagues propose an explanation in the April 5 Nature.
This toad tale starts with the weather during the 1990s. The researchers found
that summer weather foretold how much rain and snow would pelt the Cascades the
following winter. It also predicted how well the toad's egg hatching would go. The