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Amphibian DeclinesThe Conservation Status of United States Species$
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Michael Lannoo

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780520235922

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520235922.001.0001

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Lessons from the Tropics

Lessons from the Tropics

(p.198) Twenty-Eight Lessons from the Tropics
Amphibian Declines

Karen R. Lips

Maureen A. Donnelly

University of California Press

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

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