Costa Rican Treefrog. Photograph by Adair McNear.
At Thailand's Sakaerat Research Station, in the tropical lowlands 300 kilometers northeast of Bangkok, field biologist and filmmaker Adair McNear is assisting Ph.D. student Sinlan Poo, of University of Singapore, in her ongoing research on the brooding behavior of an endemic, little-studied species of Southeast Asian treefrog, Chiromantis hansenae. Stirred into a breeding frenzy by the arrival of Asia's monsoon season, C. hansenae goes on to vigilantly guard its egg clutches day and night throughout their development. They ensure that the fragile eggs do not dry out, stand guard against potential predators, and situate their clutches above freshwater that their young drop into upon hatching as tadpoles, where they will further their development.
The forests and wetlands of Vietnam, similar to Thailand. Photograph by Adair McNear.
Sinlan's research will provide a detailed and intimate look at the reproductive behavior of C. hansenae, from courtship to brooding to hatching, with a special emphasis on the intensity of parental vigilance for larger versus smaller broods. Additionally, as the frogs' reproduction is closely in tune with the changing of the season and the arrival on the monsoon, as to provide the freshwater pools necessary for the development of their young, Sinlan's research will hopefully allow us to gain a better understanding of how global climate fluctuations may affect Southeast Asian frogs in the face of the continued worldwide decline in amphibians.