, Volume 39, Issue 2-3, pp 541-561

Potential Effects of Climate Change on Two Neotropical Amphibian Assemblages

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Abstract

Although anuran amphibians are diverse and conspicuous in many vertebrate communities, worldwide population declines have been observed. Climatic change is a global factor that has been implicated in some of these declines. In this paper, we speculate on how Neotropical anurans might respond to changes in climate predicted by Hulme and Viner (1998). We focus on two distinct groups of Neotropical anurans: frogs that live and oviposit in leaf litter and frogs that congregate at ponds to breed. Increased temperature, increased length of dry season, decreased soil moisture, and increased inter-annual rainfall variability will affect Neotropical frogs strongly. We expect that these changes will directly affect frogs by changing reproductive success and breeding periodicity, and indirectly by altering the invertebrate prey base. The individual effects will likely translate into changes at the population and community levels. We also speculate on how climatic change will affect Neotropical amphibians that are restricted ecologically and/or geographically. We suggest directions for future research that will increase our ability to predict how amphibians in the New World tropics will respond to climatic change.