The potential effects of climate change on the status of Seychelles frogs (Anura: Sooglossidae)

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J. Gerlach

Abstract

The status of the Seychelles frogs of the family Sooglossidae was investigated, using monitoring data from 1993-2010, climate data from 1998-2010 and studies of populations and local climate effects. Climate monitoring at each plot covered rainfall and temperature, with leaf wetness and soil moisture being monitored additionally at one site. Analysis of the data and ecological modelling of the distribution identify geographical patterns in climate which explain the present distribution of the different sooglossid species. In addition it identifies a drying trend in the first quarter of the year which corresponds to frog population declines in mid-altitude forests. This is interpreted as evidence of an ongoing deterioration in the suitability of habitats for the frogs, with declines recorded in areas of marginal suitability. By extension it is assumed that currently optimal frog habitat is also undergoing a decline in suitability, due to early year decreases in moisture. Projected changes in climate were used to predict changes in ranges of the sooglossids over the next 90 years. This predicts significant declines, with the possible extinction of the palm frog Sooglossus pipilodryas by 2100. Accordingly all four sooglossid species should be categorised as Endangered, rather than their current status of Vulnerable. Captive assurance colonies have not been successfully established to date. Captive groups have been maintained with a high degree of success but breeding has not been recorded so far. Further work needed for the conservation of the frogs is outlined: development of a reliable method of monitoring the cryptic S. thomasseti and development of captive breeding techniques.

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How to Cite
[1]
Gerlach, J. 2011. The potential effects of climate change on the status of Seychelles frogs (Anura: Sooglossidae). Journal of Threatened Taxa. 3, 11 (Nov. 2011), 2153–2166. DOI:https://doi.org/10.11609/JoTT.o2619.2153-66.
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Author Biography

J. Gerlach

Justin Gerlach is the Scientific Coordinator for the Nature Protection Trust of Seychelles. His research focus is on the evolution of island ecosystems and their responses to anthropogenic change.