Chapter

Why Are Some Species in Decline but Others Not?

Martha L. Crump

in Amphibian Declines

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2005 | ISBN: 9780520235922
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520929432 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520235922.003.0002
Why Are Some Species in Decline but Others Not?

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In the late 1980s, one-half of the fifty known species of anurans from the vicinity of Monteverde, including golden toads and harlequin frogs, disappeared. During the past fifteen years, reports of declines and disappearances of amphibians around the world have revealed a similar pattern: within a given area, only certain species have been strongly affected. Clearly, patterns identified within one assemblage in one habitat are not necessarily repeated in other assemblages in other habitats. What makes a species vulnerable to population declines? It is possible that declining species are more vulnerable because they exhibit narrow tolerances to moisture, temperature, and other habitat conditions, or they are less able to deal with unpredictability. For amphibians, three of the major environmental changes that cause stress are habitat modification or destruction, environmental pollution, and drought. In order to understand the patterns of amphibian declines, it is important to examine the responses of individuals of declining (as well as non-declining) species to these stresses in terms of flexibility of physiology, endocrine function, morphology, ecology, and behavior.

Keywords: Monteverde; anurans; amphibians; population declines; morphology; ecology; behavior; habitats; golden toads; harlequin frogs

Chapter.  2488 words. 

Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences

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