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The North American Reporting Center for Amphibian Malformations

Introduction


The issue of malformed amphibians has recently captured both scientific and public attention. Understanding the extent of the phenomenon had been hampered by the lack of a centralized data base on the occurrence of malformations in amphibians. The North American Reporting Center for Amphibian Malformations was established to consolidate observations in a data base so that scientists can search for patterns and trends in the type and incidence of malformations. The Reporting Center was activated in June 1997, following several months of discussions among federal and state agency staff, herpetologists, and other scientists. The Reporting Center uses the World-Wide Web (URL: http://frogweb.nbii.gov/narcam/) to facilitate the flow of information in two directions. First, scientists and the public can learn about the phenomenon, as well as where malformations have been found, the rates at which they were recorded, the species involved, and the types of malformations noted. Second, suspected or confirmed malformation observations can be reported to the Center. The Center can alert a responsible state or provincial agency or a nearby herpetologist for confirmation and further investigation, if appropriate. The purpose of this article is to describe the Reporting Center and to present some preliminary results from data stored there.


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