David Wake, Professional on Salamanders and Evolution, Dies at 84

He added, “Frogs tell us about the general health of the environment. You are the medium and the message. “

In 1998, a chytrid fungus was found to have caused many deaths, particularly of frogs, in the rainforests of Central America and Australia. Dr. However, Wake and others pointed to other factors as well, including climate change, pollution, and habitat loss.

Dr. In 2000, Wake’s Berkeley seminar on amphibian population decline led him to launch AmphibiaWeb, an online compendium containing information on the conservation status of thousands of amphibian species, including their biology, natural history and distribution.

“He considered AmphibiaWeb part of his heritage,” said his wife, who has studied the limbless amphibians called Caecilians and worked with him on some papers. “He also thought that naming so many species would be a lasting contribution.”

David Burton Wake was born on June 8, 1936 in Webster, SD, and grew up in nearby Pierpont. His mother, Ina (Solem) Wake, was a teacher, and his father, Thomas, sold hardware and farm equipment. His family moved to Tacoma in 1953.

His maternal grandfather, a self-taught botanist, was a powerful early influence on him.

“He had ‘Gray’s Manual of Botany’ and we encrypted plants together,” said Dr. Wake 2019 in an interview with the UC Berkeley Emeriti Association.

When he attended what is now the Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, his focus shifted from botany to zoology. His path narrowed when he took a course in entomology. While collecting beetles in the field, he remembered, “I would stumble upon salamanders and I was delighted with them.”

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