Aussie scientists urge to protect frog species to support ecosystems, biodiversity

2021-05-05 05:05:28 GMT2021-05-05 13:05:28(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

SYDNEY, May 5 (Xinhua) -- Australian scientist found most of the country's frog species examined were vulnerable to housing, agriculture, roads and recreation, and needed to be protected.

The study, newly published in Global Change Biology, found more than 40 of Australia's 243 frog species were already threatened with extinction.

After analysing over 126,000 verified observations of frogs from the Australian Museum's citizen science project FrogID, the researchers from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Sydney and the Australian Museum found almost three-quarters of 87 Australian frog species were intolerant of human impacts on the environment.

"Frogs need to be prioritised in urban planning and conservation decisions," lead author and PhD candidate Gracie Liu from UNSW Science's School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, said.

"By studying how species respond to human-driven habitat modification, and ranking them based on their tolerance, we can prioritize the most vulnerable species and take appropriate conservation measures to mitigate the risk to biodiversity."

The researchers mentioned frogs are one of the most threatened groups of animals on earth. They are declining due to human's activities like clearing and modifying native vegetation for housing, agriculture, roads, and recreation. In Australia, cities and agriculture already account for more than half of the country's land use.

By considering these factors, the researchers developed a tolerance index to measure these effects on frogs.

The study found that habitat specialists and species with large geographic range sizes were the least tolerant of habitat modification, and call dominant frequency, body size, clutch type and calling position were also related to tolerance of habitat modification.

In view of the fact that frogs are a good indication of a healthy environment, the researchers called for more consideration of anthropogenic impacts, and taking strong conservation measures to ensure the long-term persistence of frog populations.

Researchers said in addition to preserving native habitat, frog diversity can be supported by creating green spaces and "frog-friendly" gardens in modified areas. Enditem