(CN) – Climate change has a direct relationship with the spread of a fatal disease among frogs in the United Kingdom, according to a new study released Thursday.
The study, published in scientific journal Global Change Biology, said researchers found a direct correlation between the increasing spread of a Ranavirus disease among frogs and Earth’s rising temperatures. Ranavirus is an infectious disease that affects amphibians and reptiles. Scientists found the disease to experience certain seasonal changes, and that it spikes in severity when temperatures are highest.
The biologists made this discovery by tracking trends in mass-mortality events among common frog populations and found that the timelines of these events tie directly into the upward trends of Earth’s temperature. They found that between April and October, the hottest months of the year, the virus spreads faster and wider when compared to the colder winter months.
The study predicts that as carbon emissions continue to warm the Earth’s climate, the Ranavirus disease will spread more rapidly among common frogs, an effect already being felt in the UK.
Stephen Prince, lead author of the study, suggests that these findings offer further evidence that the effects of climate change are not limited to only impacting future generations, and is instead a present problem with real-world consequences.
The study also highlights the need for habitat protection for common frogs. Sustaining healthy environments for frogs, areas with deep ponds and dense foliage, will give common frogs a chance at staying cooler and reducing the infection rate of the virus.
The scientists suggest that while the spread of Ranavirus has been observed only in certain key areas of England, it is likely to spread in the coming years. It is believed that unless action is taken, the virus will have spread across most of the UK within the next five decades.