Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Climate change likely culprit in coqui frog's altered calls, say biologists

Date:
April 14, 2014
Source:
University of California - Los Angeles
Summary:
The abundant Puerto Rican coqui frog has experienced changes since the 1980s that are likely due to global warming, biologists report. The call of the male coqui became shorter and higher pitched, and the animal itself has become smaller. The study is the first to show the effect of temperature change on a species of frogs in the tropics over a period of more two decades.

This is the coqui frog (Eleutherodactylus coqui) of Puerto Rico.
Credit: Dante Fenolio

Changes in the Puerto Rican climate over the past three decades have caused small but significant changes to the coqui frog, the territory's national animal. UCLA biologists have found that not only have male coquis become smaller, but their mating call has also become shorter and higher pitched.

Authored by Peter Narins, UCLA distinguished professor of integrative biology and physiology and of ecology and evolutionary biology, and Sebastiaan Meenderink, a UCLA physics researcher, the study examined 170 male coqui frogs (Eleutherodactylus coqui) in 1983 and then 116 males in 2006. The study included frogs found at 28 altitudes in Puerto Rico, ranging from about 10 yards above sea level to more than 1,100 yards above sea level.

The study, the first to show the effect of temperature change on a species of frogs in the tropics over a period of more two decades, was published online April 9 in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, and will appear later in the print edition.

"We think the animal adapted to temperature change by becoming smaller, which we believe causes the differences in their calls," said Meenderink, who was previously a postdoctoral scholar in Narins' laboratory. The male's call is significant because it is used to attract females and to defend territory from other males.

Narins, who has studied the coqui for 41 years, said although the change is not very large, it is statistically significant and may well be a sign of difficult years ahead for the animal. The coqui is so beloved in Puerto Rico that it is the subject of songs and children's stories there.

Now, because of climate change, its reproductive success is likely to decrease substantially, the scientists predict.

"If current trends continue unabated, the coqui frog will sound and look quite different before this century is over," said Narins, a faculty member in the UCLA College of Letters and Science.

The scientists found that frogs at comparable altitudes are more than 10 percent smaller in length than they were 23 years earlier. Using data from four weather stations in Puerto Rico, the researchers also learned that the temperatures increased by almost 0.5 degrees Fahrenheit over that time. Although that amount of warming doesn't sound like much, it is meaningful over such a brief period of time. If it continues or worsens in coming decades, it could be very dangerous for the coqui, whose existence dates back more than 11,000 years, and perhaps much longer than that.

According to Narins, some 30 percent of the world's more than 6,300 species of frogs and toads are endangered for a variety of reasons including climate change, chemical contamination of the water supply, destruction of their habitats and exposure to deadly fungi. In addition to their own intrinsic value, many of the species are important because scientists can study them to discover new treatments for disease. That opportunity would be lost if the animals become extinct.

In addition, the changes affecting the coqui could have an adverse effect on Puerto Rico's food chain, because owls, snakes, land crabs and other animals dine on the animal.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Los Angeles. The original article was written by Stuart Wolpert. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. P. M. Narins, S. W. F. Meenderink. Climate change and frog calls: long-term correlations along a tropical altitudinal gradient. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 2014; 281 (1783): 20140401 DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2014.0401

Cite This Page:

University of California - Los Angeles. "Climate change likely culprit in coqui frog's altered calls, say biologists." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140414160854.htm>.
University of California - Los Angeles. (2014, April 14). Climate change likely culprit in coqui frog's altered calls, say biologists. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140414160854.htm
University of California - Los Angeles. "Climate change likely culprit in coqui frog's altered calls, say biologists." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140414160854.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

AP (July 31, 2014) Seacrest Wolf Preserve on the northern Florida panhandle allows more than 10,000 visitors each year to get up close and personal with Arctic and British Columbian Wolves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

AP (July 31, 2014) With Florida's panther population rebounding, some ranchers complain the protected predators are once again killing their calves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins