Changing weather patterns from global climate change could be a contributing factor in declining frog populations, particularly for species that rely on ephemeral water sources, like some of those in eastern Texas. Scientists in Nacogdoches, TX are currently studying the effects of rainfall and temperature on the breeding activities of 13 different species of frogs in eastern Texas. Information from the research will make it possible to predict potential effects of a changing climate on frog populations.
Climate change is expected to affect amphibians through a number of direct and indirect mechanisms. This project focuses on examining several of these mechanisms, as well as potential management responses, including:
"Shrinking heads hypothesis" - How do forested headwater streams respond to low water years? Do riparian buffers mitigate shrinking heads effects?
Over-ridge connectivity designs for forested amphibians.
Climate associations of the amphibian chytrid fungus.
Long-term monitoring of anuran breeding dates in the Cascade Range.
Lizards are expected to be an early warning system of impending change in vegetation communities, and a useful tool in predicting adaptive management needs. This study is conducted in the area with the highest diversity of lizards in the USA, situated at an ecotone between two deserts and a mountain range. Changes in the lizard community are expected sooner in this ecotone than in distinct habitat types, and are also expected to precede observed changes in vegetation.
One of North America’s rarest reptiles, the Louisiana pine snake, may require extra assistance to persist under climate change. Scientists with the Southern Research Station are developing an RRTH (relocation, reintroduction, translocation, headstarting) project for these reptiles.