Stuart Pimm

Duke University, Doris Duke Professor of Conservation Ecology, Nicholas School of the Environment

September 8, 2011

Plankton that could save amphibians

Andrew Blaustein

Andrew Blaustein (1999) and colleagues have discovered an organism that may protect amphibians from a fungal disease that is destroying their populations worldwide. The researchers found that a zooplankton living in amphibian breeding sites, Daphni magna, eats the disease-causing fungus. This finding may lead to the development of an effective biological control, the team says.

July 9, 2010

Flowering plants at risk of extinction

Stuart Pimm

photo: Makio Kusahara

More than one in four flowering plant species now face extinction, according to a new study co-authored by Stuart Pimm (1999). The study also estimates 35 to 70 thousand species have not been discovered and may go extinct before discovery.

May 6, 2010

Ocean acidification linked to largest prehistoric extinction

Adina Paytan

photo: Graeme Bartlett

Ocean acidification from volcanic eruptions probably led to the largest prehistoric mass extinction, as reported in a paper co-authored by Adina Paytan (2006). For lead author Jonathan Payne, the findings raise questions about the fate of our now-acidifying oceans.


September 25, 2009

Mexican salamander threatened with extinction

Luis Zambrano

The population of axolotl, a salamander noted for its unusual life cycle and appearance, has plummeted 90% in the past four years, according to a new study co-authored by Luis Zambrano (2009). Wild only in the Xochimilco region, the axolotl is losing its habitat to urban expansion from Mexico City. Declining water quality and competition with nonnative fish for food are the main causes for the reduced numbers, the authors say. Read recent coverage by the BBC and Scientific American.


June 16, 2009

For species under threat, a model for surviving climate change

Terry Root

As the climate changes, many species face extinction if they cannot adapt to their altered habitat. Terry Root (1999), Steve Schneider, and their colleagues have created a model for knowing if, when, and how to move them to suitable new locations. In addition to informing management decisions, they hope their research stimulates public discussion on the issue.


June 15, 2009

Extinctions on the rise

Andrew Blaustein, Karen Lips

Current research suggests that the world is entering its sixth era of mass extinction, Elizabeth Kolbert wrote in the May 25 New Yorker magazine. Andy Blaustein (1999) and Karen Lips (2005) were among the scientists she interviewed. Read more



April 9, 2009

Spotlight placed on frog extinction

Karen Lips

Karen Lips's (2005) work on the fungus that is causing the extinction of frogs around the world was featured in the April edition of National Geographic Magazine and the April 5 broadcast of Nature on PBS. In addition to her research findings, Karen discussed what humans lose with the loss of amphibians and why action is needed.