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The decline of amphibians in California's Great Central Valley

January 1, 1996

Declines in amphibian populations are rarely reported on the community or ecosystem level. We combined broad-scale field sampling with historical analyses of museum records to quantify amphibian declines in California’s Great Central Valley. Overall, amphibians showed an unambiguous pattern of decline, although the intensity of decline varied both geographically and taxonomically. The greatest geographical decline was detected in the counties of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys. Two species, Rana aurora and Bufo boreas were identified as the most affected by decline, whereas Pseudacris regilla was the least affected. The Coast Range counties had little or no detectable decline. We provide new evidence implicating introduced predators as a primary threat. Introduced predators occur at lower elevations than native species, and our data indicate that for some native species there has been significant restriction to higher elevation sites from a formerly broader distribution. Our historical approach provides a strategy for identifying declining amphibian communities that complements more detailed, long-term monitoring programs and provides an assessment of the pattern of change that is a necessary prerequisite for the development of field experiments that test hypothesized mechanisms of change.

Publication Year 1996
Title The decline of amphibians in California's Great Central Valley
DOI 10.1046/j.1523-1739.1996.10051387.x
Authors Robert N. Fisher, H.B. Shaffer
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Conservation Biology
Index ID 1008037
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Western Ecological Research Center