Sierra College Department of Biological Sciences

Discover the Biological Sciences

The introductory information for this site has been contributed as a joint assignment by students in Bio. Sci. 10.

Zoology - Herpetology

By: Justine Vincent

1. Herpetology

2. Herpetology is the study of reptiles and amphibians

3. The reason reptiles and amphibians are grouped together in Herpetology is because they are both cold-blooded. The study of Herpetology is very beneficial because amphibians are very sensitive to their environment and they can visibly warn humans of dangers to come such as global warming. Also venom from snakes and other toxins from other reptiles and amphibians can be used for human medicine.

4. Recently amphibians have been experiencing declines in their population numbers. There are several reasons for the amphibian population decline. The main reason is habitat destruction. The building of roads and other structures are either destroying their habitats or separating them making it harder for the amphibians to breed. Also new non-native species are beginning to prey on or compete with the amphibians for food, which is also contributing to their decline. Also UV-B radiation levels have risen in the atmosphere and amphibians are extremely sensitive to UV-B radiation, it has been known to kill amphibians directly. But also what the researchers use amphibians for, environment research, is also killing them. Amphibians are extremely sensitive to even the smallest changes in the climate. Any storm can affect their breeding behavior, decrease the effectiveness of their immune system, and make them even more sensitive to climate changes. Luckily breeding programs is zoos have begun to try to reestablish the amphibian population.

5. An interesting aspect of Herpetology is the fact that snake venom can be used for human medicine. Snake venom was recently discovered to possibly slow cancer growth. It was studied that in a tumor that snake venom would attack the unhealthy cells while leaving the healthy ones alone. Also snake venom has been known to help with stroke victims. A medicine that was extracted from snake venom has been found to reduce the extent of stroke-related disability.
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