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Taking the lead on climate change: modelling and monitoring the fate of an Amazonian frog

  • Elodie A. Courtois (a1), Elodie Michel (a1), Quentin Martinez (a1), Kevin Pineau (a2), Maël Dewynter (a3), Gentile F. Ficetola (a4) and Antoine Fouquet (a1)...

Climate change is expected to have important impacts on biodiversity. However, cases showing explicit links between species decline and climate are scarce, mostly because of a lack of baseline data. Tropical ectotherms with narrow altitudinal ranges are particularly sensitive to climate change; for example the frog Pristimantis espedeus may be at risk, with only nine populations known to date in French Guiana, all on isolated massifs. Ecological niche modelling indicated that these populations could disappear by 2070. To facilitate testing of this prediction we conducted a study to design an efficient, cost-effective monitoring protocol, combining occupancy rate estimations using passive acoustic recorders, and abundance estimations using acoustic repeated counts and capture–mark–recapture. We found the passive recorders to be effective, with a detection probability of 0.8. Two recording sessions were sufficient to estimate occupancy rates reliably. A minimum of 57 surveyed sites were required to detect a decline of 15% in occupancy between two consecutive monitoring events. Acoustic repeated counts and capture–mark–recapture yielded similar density estimates (1.6 and 1.8 calling males per 100 m2, respectively). Based on these results we present a protocol based on passive acoustic recording and abundance monitoring to monitor P. espedeus populations.

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