Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tree-frog biodiversity warning for Amazon

Osteocephalus heyeri (c) Dan Moen  
Amazonian tree-frogs are exceedingly well established
Tree-frog hot spots in the Amazon have been established over tens of millions of years, say scientists.
To explain why some areas have greater species richness, experts analysed the distribution of 360 tree-frog species.
They found that the most diverse sites were established over 60 million years ago and more recently colonised areas had fewer unique species.
Researchers suggest this is evidence that damaged rainforest could take millions of years to recover.


Hypsiboas rosenbergi (c) John Wiens
  • The Amazonian region of Colombia has the highest tree-frog species richness on the planet
  • Globally, species can vary dramatically. The gladiator frog pictured has enlarged spiny "thumbs" for fighting
  • Tree-frogs can range in size from roughly palm sized to roughly thumbnail sized

"The loss of species richness during our lifetimes may actually take tens of millions of to recover from” Dr John Wiens
Scientists from Stony Brook University, New York, US, aimed to shed light on an ongoing debate with their study published in the journal Ecology Letters.
"The question of why there are more species in the tropics has been a puzzle to biologists for more than 200 years, and a particularly challenging part of the problem is to explain why some sites in the rainforest can have more species than an entire continent," explained principal investigator Dr John Wiens.
In the past, species richness had been attributed to climate and some scientists believed that the biodiversity of tropical rainforest was due to their hot wet conditions.

Full Story

BBC Nature News

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