Association of Coloration Mode with Population Declines and Endangerment in Australian Frogs
2009 (English)In: Conservation Biology, ISSN 0888-8892, Vol. 23, 1535-1543 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Successful protection of biodiversity requires increased understanding of the ecological characteristics that predispose some species to endangerment. Theory posits that species with polymorphic or variable coloration should have larger distributions, use more diverse resources, and be less vulnerable to population declines and extinctions, compared with taxa that do not vary in color. We used information from literature on 194 species of Australian frogs to search for associations of coloration mode with ecological variables. In general, species with variable or polymorphic color patterns had larger ranges, used more habitats, were less prone to have a negative population trend, and were estimated as less vulnerable to extinction compared with nonvariable species. An association of variable coloration with lower endangerment was also evident when we controlled statistically for the effects of range size. Nonvariable coloration was not a strong predictor of endangerment, and information on several characteristics is needed to reliably identify and protect species that are prone to decline and may become threatened by extinction in the near future. Analyses based on phylogenetic-independent contrasts did not support the hypothesis that evolutionary transitions between nonvariable and variable or polymorphic coloration have been accompanied by changes in the ecological variables we examined. Irrefutable demonstration of a role of color pattern variation in amphibian decline and in the dynamics and persistence of populations in general will require a manipulative experimental approach.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 23, 1535-1543 p.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-33229DOI: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2009.01244.xISI: 000272163100026OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-33229DiVA: diva2:282743