Frogs, Toads & Salamanders Vanishing Fast
The sudden decline of boreal toad populations in Colorado during the past couple of decades took state researchers by surprise, but it turns out that it’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Globally, the loss of amphibian specieshas sent shock waves rippling through aquatic ecosystems and there’s no sign the decline is slowing down, according to U.S. Geological Survey scientists, who recently set out to measure amphibian losses in the United States.
They found that even species of amphibians presumed to be relatively stable and widespread are declining. And these declines are occurring in amphibian populations everywhere, from the swamps in Louisiana and Florida to the high mountains of the Sierras and the Rockies and extending even into protected areas. At the current rate of decline, amphibians could disappear from half their existing habitats in the next 20 years. In all, scientists analyzed nine years of data from 34 sites spanning 48 species. The analysis did not evaluate causes of declines.
“This is the culmination of an incredible sampling effort and cutting-edge analysis pioneered by the USGS, but it is very bad news for amphibians,” said Brian Gratwicke, amphibian conservation biologist with the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute. “Now, more than ever, we need to confront amphibian declines in the U.S. and take actions to conserve our incredible frog and salamander biodiversity.”
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