Amphibians may be the worlds most threatened taxonomic group with an estimated 30% of worldwide populations being threatened, and over 40% experiencing population declines. These numbers, coupled with an extinction rate over 200 times the normal-background extinction rate, are leaving researchers all over the world grasping for answers to the causes of these mass declines and extinctions. Some proposed causes include habitat loss, disease, pesticide use, pollution, and increased ultraviolet radiation.
Wild Lens biologist-filmmaker Adair McNear is currently working with University of Singapore PhD student Sinlan Poo at Thailand’s Sakaerat Research Station studying the reproductive ecology of an endemic treefrog, Chiromantis hansenae. This treefrog’s reproductive cycle is closely tied with the start of the monsoon season, and one of Sinlan’s research goals is to gain a better understanding of how global climate fluctuations may impact this little-studied species in the face of worldwide population declines. The following is a brief report from Adair on how the start of breeding season is progressing.
“The wet season is a little slow in coming, so while the frogs are indeed breeding (rains are intermittent, so it’s not a drought situation), its not the peak of breeding season yet, and chances to film the frogs in the study site are still pretty unpredictable. However things should pick up a lot once we start getting more storms, so for the time being I’ve been trying to get some general monsoon/predator “b-roll” and will work on getting the interview footage with Sheila in the next couple of weeks. There is also a good amount of frogs in aquariums for a controlled subset of Sheila’s research; these frogs will be a lot easier to film but may not have that “natural” look. ~ Adair McNear”
Stay tuned for more detailed updates from Adair as she continues to monitor the breeding progression of these frogs!