Lessons from the Tropics

Karen R. Lips and Maureen A. Donnelly

in Amphibian Declines

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2005 | ISBN: 9780520235922
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520929432 | DOI:
Lessons from the Tropics

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Amphibian declines differ in the tropics and in temperate areas. While temperate declines generally occur more slowly, affect mostly pond-breeding species, and include salamanders as well as anurans, tropical declines have tended to involve entire anuran faunas that abruptly crash (“faunal collapse”). Certain conditions of tropical ecosystems might make amphibians either more susceptible to population declines or less likely to rebound following a decline. This chapter uses amphibian declines in Central America as an example of the kind of data that could be collected from the Old World Tropics, where the status of amphibian populations is unknown. It then describes how tropical ecology might help us decipher certain aspects of temperate amphibian declines. It also looks at lessons that can be learned from the tropics, focusing on species richness and endemism, diversity of reproductive modes, climate change and amphibian physiology, and conservation. Finally, it presents a case study of a tropical salamander, Bolitoglossa subpalmata on the Cerro de la Muerte, Costa Rica.

Keywords: salamanders; Bolitoglossa subpalmata; Costa Rica; amphibians; population declines; conservation; tropics; tropical ecology; endemism; climate change

Chapter.  7641 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences

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