ACA researcher concerned about dramatic decline in rainforest frogs
For two decades now, Alessandro Catenazzi, Ph.D., an assistant professor of zoology at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, has been using the ACA biological stations in the Peruvian rainforest to learn more about the frog population in the region.
Catenazzi and his colleagues have made several important discoveries that increase our understanding about amphibian diversity and threats, and help inform conservation priorities. One of these is that highland creek frogs are declining dramatically due to chytrid, a fungus considered the most significant threat to the world's amphibian populations. “I have memories of working there in the 1990’s and just walking along these creeks, and there were all these frogs calling and the pools were full of tadpoles,” he said during a recent interview with ACA. “Now the creeks are dead zones.”
Another discovery found that lowland frog populations show little tolerance for climate change, where an increase of only two degrees Celsius could be problematic for their survival. Recent temperature trends recorded by Catenazzi and his team are alarming. “So far this year, temperatures in the rainforest have been off the charts,” Catenazzi noted. “And when you look at mathematical models predicting temperatures that the rainforest is expected to experience in the years ahead, the future for lowland rainforest frogs appears to be very bleak.” These findings provide still another reason why nations need to slow global warming, he stressed.
Through his many years studying the frog population in the Andes-Amazon, Catenazzi has given the scientific community and the public at large a greater understanding about the issues facing frog populations. For more information about Catenazzi's research, visit his blog at: http://www.catenazzilab.org/