This video is about mountain coqui frogs in Puerto Rico.
Tropical Frog Shouts Climate Change from the Mountaintops
By Candace ⋅ July 13, 2011
Scientists studying disease and climate change as part of a special multidisciplinary team at Cornell University are heading to the mountains of Puerto Rico – hoping to learn what a struggling frog species can tell us about the danger changing weather patterns present to ecosystems around the globe.
The frog species, known as the mountain coqui to the hikers they serenade at night and Eleutherodactylus to researchers, has for decades battled a lethal fungus to a standstill, says Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Professor Kelly Zamudio. The coqui populations endure the drier winter months when stress makes them vulnerable to the imported fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, or Bd, then rebound when the wet season returns to their tropical forest home.
But now, climate change may be tipping the balance in this biological standoff.
Zamudio, whose lab is looking into climate change and disease with the support of the Academic Venture Fund administered by the Cornell Center for a Sustainable Future, has teamed with graduate student researcher Ana Longo. During her master’s degree work at the University of Puerto Rico, Longo followed how climate change altered weather patterns in the Caribbean. She found that periods of drought during the winter months from December through April have grown longer, with rainless spans once rarely longer than three days now stretching up to nine or 10 days. That puts the coqui under added stress, and stressed frogs are less likely to survive when Bd comes calling. To make matters worse, the frogs sometimes retreat at “clumping sites” to ride out the droughts, helping spread the fungus among weakened populations.
The Challenge of Conserving Amphibian Megadiversity in Madagascar: here.
Between 2003 and 2010, the deadly chytrid fungus slashed the populations of two frog species in the Sierra Nevada, while populations of a third species – the Pacific tree frog (Pseudacris regilla) – held steady: here.