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Weather cycles may drive toad decline

By
12:22pm, April 25, 2001

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

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