Journal article

Connectivity over a disease risk gradient enables recovery of rainforest frogs

Sara C Bell, Geoffrey W Heard, Lee Berger, Lee F Skerratt

Ecological Applications | WILEY | Published : 2020


Chytridiomycosis has been a key driver of global frog declines and extinctions, particularly for high-altitude populations across Australia and the Americas. While recent evidence shows some species are recovering, the extent of such recoveries and the mechanisms underpinning them remain poorly resolved. We surveyed the historical latitudinal and elevational range of four Australian rainforest frogs that disappeared from upland sites between 1989 and 1994 to establish their contemporary distribution and elevational limits, and investigate factors affecting population recovery. Five rainforest streams were surveyed from mountain-base to summit (30 sites in total), with swabs collected from th..

View full abstract

University of Melbourne Researchers


Awarded by Australian Research Council

Funding Acknowledgements

We thank Keith McDonald for sharing his knowledge to help plan these surveys. Fieldwork assistance was provided by Betsy Roznik, Katrin Schmidt, Karen Chong-Seng, Phil Bourke, Richard Duffy, Rachel Duffy, Alastair Freeman, Steve Johnson, Felicia King, Daniel Lenger, Sasha Greenspan, and Kallum Jones. Michael Scroggie provided helpful discussions and statistical guidance during the preparation of this manuscript. Funding was provided by Australian Research Council grants to L. Berger and L. Skerratt (FT100100375 and LP110200240), and an Institute for Land, Water and Society Research Centre Fellowship (Charles Sturt University) to G. Heard. S. Bell, L. Skerratt, and L. Berger conceived and designed the study; S. Bell and L. Skerratt collected the data, G. Heard analysed data; S. Bell, G. Heard, and L. Berger wrote the manuscript, and all authors edited the manuscript. This study was conducted in compliance with the Australian Code of Practice for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes, 8th Edition, 2013, the Queensland Animal Care and Protection Act, 2001, and the Queensland Nature Conservation Act, 1992. Approval was granted for this study from James Cook University Animal Ethics Committee (A1820) and the Queensland government (scientific permit numbers WITK12035312 and WISP12035412). Access to Big Tableland (Ngalba Bulal National Park) was approved by Lee Yeatman, CEO of Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation.