Dr. Vance Vredenburg / San Francisco State University

I’m in a room stacked with rows of 50 gallon fish tanks, surrounded by gurgling water pumps. But this isn’t a fish store. I’m with conservation biologist Jessie Bushell in a building way behind the scenes of the San Francisco Zoo. She’s giving me the lowdown on the tadpoles’ menus.

“These guys eat primarily algae,” says Bushell, “so we give them a variety of algae. We give them the gel that we make here, so we plate that out, and then we also have a different type of algae gel that we plate for their evening meal.”

Commentary: Plague of frogs

May 23, 2013
Under CC license from Flickr user Gregory Moine

Science loves a frog. And why not? They're easily disassembled, they produce large numbers of transparent embryos, and they walk  goofy.

But our dissectable friends aren’t doing so well. Scientists have also noted that amphibian extinction rates appear to be anywhere from hundreds to tens of thousands of times higher than usual.