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Examining Environmental Factors’ Influence on Amphibian Populations in Puerto Rico

A new publication by Southeast CASC researchers discusses the impact of physical and habitat factors on four Coqui frog species. 

Coqui frog on red ti plant leaf
A coqui frog rests on a red ti plant leaf. 

Read the original news announcement posted by the Southeast CASC, here.  

Coqui frogs make up 68% of the amphibians found in Puerto Rico  where they are not only culturally important but also play a valuable role in the energy flow of the island’s ecosystems. Nearly all of these coqui species are considered rare and many are only found on the island of Puerto Rico. However, coqui are especially vulnerable to environmental change because of their limited movement and sensitivity to extremes in temperature and humidity, all of which are becoming increasingly unpredictable due to climate change.  

A team of Southeast CASC researchers published an article on climate adaptation strategies for Coqui frogs in the journal Global Ecology and Conservation that looked at the effects of nine physical and habitat related factors on local populations of Coqui frogs. Abundance of three of the species were positively and strongly influenced by high humidity and lower temperatures, while the fourth Coqui species studied exhibited the opposite pattern. These results may be used to characterize the range of environmental conditions that influence the distribution of coqui populations and indicate which habitats might act as climate refugia for these species as the forests in Puerto Rico become warmer and drier in the face of climate change.   

The full article, Linking demographic rates to local environmental conditions: Empirical data to support climate adaptation strategies for Eleutherodactylus frogs, can be found here

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