“Vanishing Amphibians” exhibit opens at Mountain Heritage Center

“Vanishing Amphibians,” a Smithsonian Institution exhibit that examines the worldwide decline of amphibian populations, will be on display March 26-May 4 at Western Carolina University’s Mountain Heritage Center.

Developed by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, the exhibit examines amphibian biology and decline, and the international effort to better understand the extent and causes of these losses.

As “Vanishing Amphibians” explains, reasons for amphibian disappearances include habitat loss, contamination of breeding sites by agricultural chemicals, and thinning of the ozone layer. But while one amphibian species may dwindle to the point of extinction, another living in the same environment might retain a viable population.

Through maps, photographs and graphics, the exhibit can help visitors learn about the physiology of amphibians, explore the threats to these delicate creatures, examine the effects of amphibian disappearances on local environments, and find out what scientists and others are doing to address the problem.

The Mountain Heritage Center is located on the ground floor of WCU’s H.F. Robinson Administration Building. Visiting hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Special programming will accompany this exhibit. For more information, check out the Mountain Heritage Center’s Web site (http://www.wcu.edu/mhc/) or call (828) 227-7129.