Amphibian Decline: More Support for Biocomplexity as a Research Paradigm
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The global decline of amphibians is an issue that not only unifies major recurring themes of this new journal – emerging infectious diseases, globalization, and complexity – but challenges conventional thinking about one of the fundamental environmental issues of our time, the loss of global biodiversity. A sharp decline of amphibian species was first noted by herpetologists about 25 years ago. Since that time, experts on the biology, ecology, and conservation of frogs and salamanders have been puzzled by evidence pointing to a synchronous pattern of worldwide population declines. Why all the puzzlement and surprise? After all, representatives of virtually all plant and wildlife taxa have been dwindling markedly due to habitat loss, overharvesting, and pollution since detailed record keeping on global biodiversity began in the 1960s. Indeed, the 2004 Red List of Threatened Species (http://www.redlist.org) reports the number of species at risk had swelled to over 15,000 – up from...