Climate Change and Herpetofauna

As scenarios of variable climate conditions unfold, species at the limits of their environmental tolerances will be especially at risk. In addition to predicting effects of altered climates on herpetofauna, management alternatives need to be designed to ensure habitat quality and connectivity. Vulnerabilities will need to be assessed.

PARC is bridging the science-management interface relative to identifying known and potential consequences of climate variation on amphibians and reptiles, and communicating adaptation management approaches.

In 2011, the following 5 projects are underway:

Brochure on climate change and amphibians and reptiles: February 1, 2011 version available here

This is a product of the ‘Amphibian Response to Climate Change Workshop’ held in Springbrook, Australia, 23-24 August 2009. Thanks to Dr. Jean-Marc Hero for convening the session and world amphibian experts, to Dr. Luke Shoo for leading the writing of the journal article “Engineering a Future for Amphibians with Climate Change” published in 2011 in Journal of Applied Ecology (pdf here), and to all workshop participants for their input and concern for worldwide amphibians facing the effects of climate change.

Showcase of Herpetofaunal Climate Change Adaptation Management Tools, available here.

This showcase is currently focusing on selected novel engineering solutions to maintain amphibian and reptile habitat conditions that might be altered by climate variation. We will periodically add new examples. Submissions may be sent to: dedeolson@fs.fed.us

“RRTH” [Relocation, Reintroduction, Translocation, and Headstarting] projects: April 15, 2011 version available here

RRTH projects are being used as stop-gap measures for rare species conservation relative to a variety of conservation concerns. These approaches can have high costs in terms of money and mortality of precious rare animals, hence lessons learned from ongoing efforts are important to convey. This spreadsheet will be updated occasionally. Please email dedeolson@fs.fed.us with your updates. Worldwide projects can be added. Many thanks to PARC’s RRTH Task Team members JD Kloepfer and Tracey Tuberville for their hard work to initiate this effort.

“Climate vulnerability modeling for priority amphibian and reptiles in US States”

This is a project sponsored by the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and funded by a USFWS Competitive State Wildlife Grant, and is ongoing in collaboration with researchers at University of Georgia. Species are being chosen based on species of greatest conservation need as identified in State Wildlife Action Plans, with a focus on threatened, endangered, conservation concern or those species with limited distributions. A pilot project involving Southeastern US species is near completion, and we are seeking supplemental funding to support the full national-scope completion. For information, contact Priya Nanjappa at pnanjappa@fishwildlife.org. Check here for progress reports.

Climate Change and Lizards: Science for Managers

Due to concerns raised about the potential threats that climate variation can have on lizards, an informal working group of US federal biologists and managers has been initiated to review the related science information and science gaps, and to look for opportunities to collaborate in new research and monitoring efforts. PARC was invited to participate in this group to help coordinate efforts nationally. This workgroup hopes to have progress to report during PARC’s ‘2012 Year of the Lizard’, now being planned. Check here for progress reports.

Additional Resources