Nav: Home

Temporary extinction reprieve for some frogs

October 11, 2016

Australian scientists have good news for frog conservation -- there may be longer than expected time to intervene before climate change causes extinction of some species.

The scientists used new methods for modelling the threat of climate change on frogs in tropical north-eastern Australia and showed that, at least for some species, there is likely to be more time than earlier thought before expected climate shifts and associated habitat loss drive them to extinction.

The study, published today in the scientific journal Biology Letters, shows that as many as four species of frogs in the protected Wet Tropics of Queensland UNESCO World Heritage Area face extinction by 2080 due to human-induced climate change. However, the research also shows that for at least three species, there might be sufficient time for conservation managers to intervene successfully.

The researchers, from the University of Adelaide, the University of Tasmania and James Cook University, used the latest biodiversity modelling techniques to show that extinctions from climate change can occur after substantial time lags.

Lead author Dr Damien Fordham, ARC Future Fellow with the University of Adelaide's Environment Institute, says: "This is a rare example of good news for conservation because it means that for some frog species there is likely to be more time than expected for on-ground management intervention.

"For example, our research shows that the window of time between impact and extinction might be adequate for successful translocation programs to be established."

Co-author Professor Barry Brook, Professor of Environmental Sustainability at the University of Tasmania, says this may also mean good news for other flora and fauna.

"By showing that extinction delays can exceed decades for short-lived animals such as frogs, it follows that the time lags for extinction might be even larger for long-lived species, such as large vertebrates and trees," Professor Brook says.

This study also has important implications for 'triage'-based conservation prioritisation, which is the idea that conservation managers should actively decide on which species have a reasonable prospect of being saved, and then direct precious conservation resources accordingly.

"If long time scales for extinction lags exist for some species, the likelihood that these extinctions can be averted through active on-ground management increases," says Dr Fordham. "Furthermore, it means that other species in more immediate need could be targeted for early conservation intervention."
-end-
Media Contact:

Dr Damien Fordham, Environment Institute and School of Biological Sciences, University of Adelaide. Phone: +61 (8) 8313 6711, Mobile: +61 (0) 477 303 470, damien.fordham@adelaide.edu.au

Professor Barry Brook, co-author, University of Tasmania. Phone: +61(03) 6226 2655, Mobile: +61 (0) 420 958 400 barry.brook@utas.edu.au

Robyn Mills, Media Officer, Phone: +61 8 8313 6341, Mobile: +61 (0)410 689 084, robyn.mills@adelaide.edu.au

University of Adelaide

Related Climate Change Articles:

The black forest and climate change
Silver and Douglas firs could replace Norway spruce in the long run due to their greater resistance to droughts.
For some US counties, climate change will be particularly costly
A highly granular assessment of the impacts of climate change on the US economy suggests that each 1°Celsius increase in temperature will cost 1.2 percent of the country's gross domestic product, on average.
Climate change label leads to climate science acceptance
A new Cornell University study finds that labels matter when it comes to acceptance of climate science.
Was that climate change?
A new four-step 'framework' aims to test the contribution of climate change to record-setting extreme weather events.
It's more than just climate change
Accurately modeling climate change and interactive human factors -- including inequality, consumption, and population -- is essential for the effective science-based policies and measures needed to benefit and sustain current and future generations.
Climate change scientists should think more about sex
Climate change can have a different impact on male and female fish, shellfish and other marine animals, with widespread implications for the future of marine life and the production of seafood.
Climate change prompts Alaska fish to change breeding behavior
A new University of Washington study finds that one of Alaska's most abundant freshwater fish species is altering its breeding patterns in response to climate change, which could impact the ecology of northern lakes that already acutely feel the effects of a changing climate.
Uncertainties related to climate engineering limit its use in curbing climate change
Climate engineering refers to the systematic, large-scale modification of the environment using various climate intervention techniques.
Public holds polarized views about climate change and trust in climate scientists
There are gaping divisions in Americans' views across every dimension of the climate debate, including causes and cures for climate change and trust in climate scientists and their research, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.
The psychology behind climate change denial
In a new thesis in psychology, Kirsti Jylhä at Uppsala University has studied the psychology behind climate change denial.

Related Climate Change Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Bias And Perception
How does bias distort our thinking, our listening, our beliefs... and even our search results? How can we fight it? This hour, TED speakers explore ideas about the unconscious biases that shape us. Guests include writer and broadcaster Yassmin Abdel-Magied, climatologist J. Marshall Shepherd, journalist Andreas Ekström, and experimental psychologist Tony Salvador.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#514 Arctic Energy (Rebroadcast)
This week we're looking at how alternative energy works in the arctic. We speak to Louie Azzolini and Linda Todd from the Arctic Energy Alliance, a non-profit helping communities reduce their energy usage and transition to more affordable and sustainable forms of energy. And the lessons they're learning along the way can help those of us further south.