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About this book
About this book
There are thought to be over 4000 extant amphibian species, many of which are ideal subjects for ecological and behavioural research. In the past few years increased attention has also been focused on amphibians by conservation biologists since they are especially susceptible to environmental change, pollution and radiation. This volume sets out to provide an overview of recent research on all aspects of amphibian ecology and behaviour and to illustrate its application to practical conservation measures for this major group of animals.
What are amphibians?: The class Amphibia; Special features of the Anura; Special features of the Urodela; Biogeography. Why study amphibians?: The broader significance of amphibians in biology; Amphibians in ecology; Amphibians as harbingers of doom. Evolution and phylogeny: Relevance to ecology; Methods for studying and generating phylogenies; Ancient history of the Class Amphibia; Phylogenetic studies of urodeles; Phylogenetic studies of anurans; Hybrids; Ecological implications of phylogenetic studies. Behavioural ecology: Migration; Sexual selection; Kin selection in tadpoles. Population ecology: General features of amphibian populations; Methods employed in population studies; Population dynamics; Determinants of population dynamics; Population genetics; Metapopulations and the colonization of new habitat patches. Community ecology: The importance of community studies; Methods in community ecology; Observational studies of community ecology; Experimental studies of community ecology; An overview of amphibian community ecology. Distribution, abundance and extinction risk: Distribution; Abundance; Extinction risk. Threats to amphibians: Background; Habitat destruction or alteration; Use of agrochemicals; Atmospheric pollution; Direct killing by humans. How to conserve amphibians: General strategies; Laws protecting amphibians; Site acquisition; Applied research; Habitat management and creation; Captive breeding; Translocation. Amphibian conservation in action: Choosing examples; Very rare species; Widespread but local (specialist) species; Widespread generalist species; Overview.