Image courtesy of brian.gratwicke
Amphibians stand at the frontline of global biodiversity loss. More than one third of amphibian species are globally threatened, and over 120 species have been categorised as extinct by IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of nature) since 1980. In Costa Rica, the Frontier research team has introduced a new project investigating altitudinal migration of amphibians and reptiles. These two groups are well known for their vulnerability toward environmental stress; therefore, act as excellent indicators for environmental change.
The research programme is situated in Piro, on the southwest of the Osa Peninsula. Here, the team is situated on the perimeter of a 1700ha private forest reserve, adjacent to Playa Piro on the Pacific coastline. Whilst still in its initial stages, the project has a lot of potential to expand. Costa Rica is believed to host 5% of all the earth biodiversity. It is the home of all three orders of amphibians: caecilians, salamanders, frogs and toads. During previous years, our team in Costa Rica has been surveying amphibians’ diversity and abundance around the area, including a comparative study between biodiversity and population between swamps and leaf litter. A total of 42 species have been Identified so far, with still more being discovered. The most commonly sighted species where members of family Craugastor, and the rocket frog (Colostethus talamancae), which are listed as species of Least Concern on the IUCN Red list of endangered species, and are thought to be able to tolerate some environmental disturbance.
By Nahla Mahmoud