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Controlling pests and killing amphibians.
Relyea, Rick*,1, 1 Department of Biological Sciences, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
ABSTRACT- Pesticides are used throughout the world to control undesirable pests and thereby improve the health and well being of humans. For most pesticides, we know very little about the effect on non-target species, especially on amphibians. In this study, I assemble aquatic communities (25 species) in a mesocosm experiment to determine how two insecticides (carbaryl and malathion) and two herbicides (2,4D and Roundup) affect the species richness and productivity of the communities. I found that carbaryl and malathion had indirect positive effect on amphibians by killing off many of the amphibian predators. In contrast, the herbicide 2,4D had minimal impacts while Roundup rapidly killed 95-100% of the amphibians. The results make it clear that pesticides can have both direct and indirect effects and that certain pesticides have the potential to decimate amphibian communities and lead to amphibian declines.
Key words: decline, biodiversity, amphibian, pesticide