Well, it’s a Monday morning and I’m sitting at work at 8am procrastinating on my blog. Then a thought occurred to me. Why should I feel bad for procrastination when I can tell everyone out there about a paper that I co-authored.
The paper was titled ‘Engineering a Future for Amphibians under climate change’ and was published in the Journal of Applied Ecology early this year. In this paper we tried to address the management actions that could minimise the loss of amphibian biodiversity under climate change. I will go briefly into what the paper discusses and some of the findings. In short, there were three areas that we found could reduce amphibian declines in relation to CC :
1) Installation of microclimate and microhabitat refuges
We found that portable irrigation sprayers can allow for manipulation of water at breeding sites in South Australia for Pseudophryne bibronii which allowed for a increase in calling and matings. This system could be used in other parts of the world. Additionally, implementation of artificial shelters or burrows work well in reptiles and may work with amphibians – however this has not been tested and habitat requirement for most species is unknown. Furthermore, artificial canopy cover may reduce high temperatures, that can negatively impact eggs and tadpoles.
2) Enhancement and restoration of breeding sites
Creation of numerous wetlands across the hydrological gradient could reduce mortality of amphibians when droughts occur. Addition of aboreal breeding sites could help with maintaining or increasing species that breed in bromeliad or associated plants. Increase in manipulation may increase connectivity between populations. This may present issues for managers, as an increase in connectivity could increase the potential of disease transfer between populations.
3) Manipulation of hydroperiod of water levels at breeding sites
To metamorphose, amphibians need a certain time frame in which water is present. In some areas, extension of hydroperiods by artifical means i.e. irrigation or filling drainage ditches, may help in acheieveing this. In some areas, solar or wind power to maintain pond levels by pumping water from below ground has been achieved.
In short, the paper addresses the ever growing dilema of CC and its impacts on the amphibian world. There are numerous methods that have been implimented in helping to maintain amphibian populations which may need to be increased in the future to prevent amphibian population crashes.
The paper can be found at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2664.2010.01942.x/full