Common pesticides and fertilizers can take their toll on amphibians, according to the results of a large-scale scientific analysis.
But application timing to avoid the most critical life stages can help reduce effects, according to a news release.
"Spring, for example, is a time with heavy agricultural application, and it's also when amphibians lay eggs and develop as larvae and tadpoles,” Tiffany Garcia, an associate wildlife science professor at Oregon State University, said in a news release. "By modifying application schedules, growers can limit contact between sensitive wildlife species and harmful chemicals."
The study, called a meta-analysis, is the first to examine the large-scale effects of specific chemicals.
It involved the review of more than 150 scientific studies that detailed the effects of pesticides and fertilizers on amphibians.
Garcia was co-author of the study, which was published in the journal Science of the Total Environment.
Four classes of common agrochemicals appeared to have the most impact on amphibian survival. They include chloropyridinyls (neonicotinoids), inorganic fertilizers, carbamate insecticides and triazine herbicides.
Two others kill and inhibit animal growth: phosphonogylcines (glyphosates) and organophosphate insecticide.
Ag chemcials are most damaging to amphibians in the egg and larval stages, decreasing survival and making them more susceptible to predation. The chemicals also reduce reproduction later in life.
Amphibians are especially vulnerable to the ag chemicals since they live on both land and in water, where they can come in contact by both direct exposure and through runoff.