“Is road salt changing the sex of frogs?” is the eye-catching title of an article in The Spectrum, a local newspaper in New England. Apparently, the road salt applied to make our roads safer have ecological repercussions. Articles like these remind me, again and again, how humans unknowingly leave their mark on nature.
Fellow New Englanders have to admit that we whine like babies when the salt trucks are slow to arrive. Maybe this winter we should think twice before complaining to the town’s highway and road department. The female tadpole population is declining and road salt is to blame, according to the Canadian Journal that reported research results from joint studies conducted by Yale and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The findings concluded that “the sodium chloride effectively masculinized the developing frogs.”
Also, take note that what we wish for in the winter, we may pay for in the summer. “Frogs can help control certain insect populations, including mosquitoes,” according to a wildlife biologist quoted in the article. Think about that next time you get a mosquito bite.
Unless the males can figure out a way to reproduce without females, frogs may find themselves on the endangered species list one day. This reminds me of “Jurassic Park,” when the scientists engineered the dinosaurs to keep the population all one gender, but somehow those pesky dinosaurs found a way to breed. The solution involved frogs..hmm. Maybe life will imitate art.