Abstract

Since amphibian declines were first proposed as a global phenomenon over a quarter century ago, the conservation community has made little progress in halting or reversing these trends. The early search for a “smoking gun” was replaced with the expectation that declines are caused by multiple drivers. While field observations and experiments have identified factors leading to increased local extinction risk, evidence for effects of these drivers is lacking at large spatial scales. Here, we use observations of 389 time-series of 83 species and complexes from 61 study areas across North America to test the effects of 4 of the major hypothesized drivers of declines. While we find that local amphibian populations are being lost from metapopulations at an average rate of 3.79% per year, these declines are not related to any particular threat at the continental scale; likewise the effect of each stressor is variable at regional scales. This result - that exposure to threats varies spatially, and populations vary in their response - provides little generality in the development of conservation strategies. Greater emphasis on local solutions to this globally shared phenomenon is needed.

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

5-23-2016

Notes/Citation Information

Published in Scientific Reports, v. 6, article no. 25625, p. 1-9.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

https://doi.org/10.1038/srep25625

Funding Information

This work was conducted as part of the Amphibian Decline Working Group supported by the John Wesley Powell Center for Analysis and Synthesis, funded by the US Geological Survey.

Related Content

Data deposited at the US Geological Survey’s John Wesley Powell Center for Analysis and Synthesis.

This manuscript is contribution #541 of the USGS Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative.

srep25625-s1.pdf (664 kB)
Supplementary Information