An ecological strategy developed by four researchers, including two from Simon Fraser University, aims to abate the grim future that the combination of two factors could inflict on many amphibians, including frogs and salamanders.
A warming climate and the introduction of non-native fish in the American West's mountainous areas are combining to threaten the habitat that this ecologically critical group of species needs to thrive.
Previous studies predict the combined effect of climate change and non-native fish could cause amphibian populations to decline and even become locally extinct.
In their newly published study in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, researchers examine this challenge and propose several new climate adaptation tools to reduce threats to amphibians.
The researchers say the novel suite of tools could help prioritize the restoration of amphibian habitats in Western North America's mountainous regions.
Wendy Palen, an SFU ecologist, Maureen Ryan, a postdoctoral fellow at SFU and the University of Washington (UW), Michael Adams, a research ecologist at the U.S. Geological Survey and Regina Rochefort, a science advisor at Washington State's North Cascades National Park, co-authored the paper.
Many amphibians in the American West's mountainous areas need predator-free wetlands and lakes during their aquatic life stages. "Amphibians predominantly use mountainous areas' small, shallow ponds to breed and feed," explains Ryan, the study's lead author.
"These kinds of wetlands are at the highest risk of drying up under climate change due to reduced snowpack and longer summer droughts. Non-native fish, such as brook and rainbow trout, were introduced for recreational fishing almost a century ago. They remove amphibians from the biggest and most stable lakes in the environment. Fish eat most amphibians and even at low densities can devour a lake's whole amphibi
|Contact: Carol Thorbes|
Simon Fraser University