Reversing Tropical Amphibian Declines
Beginning the 1980s, many populations of amphibians began to declines globally as a the infectious disease chytridiomycosis erupted around the world. This mysterious and potentially lethal skin infection, emerged in North and South America and Australia, and caused mass mortality events and rapid population declines for amphibians. Biologists across the world noted that amphibians that were formerly common could no longer be found, and in some cases biologists reported finding huge numbers of dead or dying amphibians in habitats that looked otherwise healthy. Hundreds of species of amphibians was feared extinct after these declines.
However, recent survey efforts have identified “relict populations” that have survived declines – generally these relict populations represent the last known individuals from their species. It currently remains unclear how these relict populations to survive when all other individuals of their species have been lost – these relict populations are “enigmatic survival” from enigmatic amphibian declines.
Zoo Miami staff work in collaboration with biologists at the University of Costa Rica and universities across the US to help monitor these sensitive amphibian populations, to try to understand how these relict populations survived extinction, and how to protect these critically endangered amphibians from extinction.