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The University of Southampton
Biological Sciences

Research project: Tropical Montane Forests: The Ecology and Conservation of Cryptic Anurans

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The project aims to develop methods for assessing the status of cryptic tropical montane anurans and the drivers of their decline, leading to a framework for monitoring these indicator species.

The montane regions of Peninsular Malaysia, where much of the forest has been cleared for agriculture.
The montane regions of Peninsular Malaysia, where much of the forest h

Although amphibians have survived the last four major extinction events in Earth’s history, they currently have an unprecedented global rate of extinction. Southeast Asia is host to at least 700 species of Amphibian, with approximately 50% of Malaysian species considered as threatened. The drivers of population declines remain unknown, and urgently need assessment in relation to impacts of deforestation and climate change.

Tropical montane forests (>1000m a.s.l.) provide important refuges for threatened and endemic species. The few existing studies globally on the effect of environmental change on tropical montane anurans (frogs) reveal a knowledge gap in the distribution of rare or cryptic anurans. These species have low detection rates and sporadic site occupancy, possibly related to the availability of specific microhabitats such as phytotelmata (water-filled cavities in terrestrial plants).

This project aims to develop methods to study the ecology of cryptic montane forest anurans in Peninsular Malaysia, and to investigate the factors influencing their distributions across a disturbance gradient. Traditional methods of surveying will be combined with modern genetic methods to develop a framework for future monitoring of these species.

Funding provider: SPITFIRE DTP
Funding dates: October 2018-September 2022
PhD Supervisors: Patrick Doncaster, Kelvin Peh, Mark Chapman

Related research groups

Ecology and Evolution
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