Bickford talks endangered species

David Brickford, associate professor of biology, discusses why he studies amphibians that are leading the march toward mass extinction Tuesday in the Executive Dining Room. Brickford shed light on why the rate of extinction has changed dramatically. / photo by Danielle De Luna
David Brickford, associate professor of biology, discusses why he studies amphibians that are leading the march toward mass extinction Tuesday in the Executive Dining Room. Brickford shed light on why the rate of extinction has changed dramatically. / photo by Danielle De Luna

David Gonzalez
Editorial Director

David Bickford, associate professor of biology, presented studies done by students and himself on the various amphibians of the San Gabriel Mountains and their decline at his lecture, “Inventory and Monitoring of the Amphibians of the Amphibians of the San Gabriel Mountains” Tuesday in the Executive Dining Room.

The two questions Bickford set out to answer were the kinds of amphibian species in Southern California and what kind of stream features were associated with the California newt egg clutches.

“Extinction isn’t bad, extinction’s awesome but the rate of extinction has changed dramatically,” Bickford said.

In Southern California, the three endangered frog species are the Arroyo toad, the yellow-legged frog and the California red-legged frog, Bickford said. 

He said that he has never seen any of the three species. Along with the endangered amphibians, the California newt is labeled as a “species of special concern,” he said. 

While studying amphibian egg clutches, it was found that more water is preferred and connectivity is limited, Bickford said. 

He noted that the effects of drought on amphibians needs to be further explored.

Bickford said his findings are currently not ready for publication.

Bickford said that he studies amphibians because they are leading the march toward mass extinction and are one of the groups most at risk. 

He said that there have been over 200 amphibian species to go extinct, 43 percent of all populations are declining and 32 percent of the species are threatened with extinction, Bickford said.

Amphibians are used to look at the toxic thresholds of lakes and streams, and are treated like a canary in a coal mine, Bickford said.

“Before mass extinction events were defined by incredible volcanism and climate change brought about by impact, like a meteor,” Bickford said. “[Humans] are the driver now.”

Bickford said that the main drivers for the decline and extinction of amphibians include habitat loss, pollution, over-harvesting, invasive species and diseases and climate change.

These drivers lead to a loss of biodiversity, which is a bigger problem than climate change, Bickford said.

“This has culminated in what people are starting to talk about a new geological Anthropocene, named after humans, and the kinds of things we are leaving behind not only with geological record but also the fact that are starting this mass extinction,” Bickford said.

Jay Jones, professor of biology and biochemistry, said that amphibians can be the indicators said. “We are virtually eliminating countless species.”

Paul Alvarez, professor of kinesiology, said that he would hike in Marshall Canyon, and enjoyed learning about the species in the trail.

Chris Perez, junior criminology major, said it was interesting to learn about the human caused factors of the decline of amphibians.

“Professor Bickford said that these factors multiply with one another, so the way that I interpret that is these factors are greater and synergize together,” Perez said.

David Gonzalez can be reached at david.gonzalez9@laverne.edu.

Other Stories

David Rafael Gonzalez is a senior journalism major and LV Life editor of the Campus Times. He has been a three-time editor-in-chief and has also served as editorial director, LV Life editor and a staff writer.

Other Stories

Latest Stories

Related articles

Instructor explains foreign language anxiety

Alexander Lev-Da-Silva, instructor of modern languages, gave an informative and eye-opening lecture titled “The Effects of Foreign Language Teaching Anxiety on Non-native/Nativelike Teachers” at noon Tuesday in the Quay Davis Executive Boardroom. 

Artist shares paintings and process

Dion Johnson, the University’s director of galleries and distinguished artist, delivered an artistic lecture and creative presentation on Tuesday at noon to a group of about 30 students and faculty members, who gathered in the Quay Davis Executive Boardroom. 

Pérez considers pervasiveness of racist humor

Raul Perez, author and assistant professor of sociology, discussed his new book “The Souls of White Jokes,” during his lecture at noon Tuesday in the Quay Davis Executive Board Room. 

Law professor recalls more than 40-year career in ‘Last Lecture’

Dean Emeritus and Professor of Law Chuck Doskow highlighted his career and legacy in front of 15 audience members with 14 joining virtually Tuesday at noon in the Quay Davis Executive Board Room.