Ecology and Conservation of Amphibians of Western Ghats and Beyond

Amphibian population decline across the globe at an alarming rate has enthused researchers to probe for the cause. Habitat alteration including fragmentation, degradation, modification and rapid urbanization are considered to be key factors in such declines. In addition, fungal diseases, use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers are also negatively influencing the amphibian population. It is still not clear how these causalities work, individually, collectively or synergistically? This scenario is not different in the Western Ghats that harbours over 183 species of amphibians of the total 342 recorded for India and interestingly there are more species yet to be discovered from the region. Nearly 88% of amphibians recorded from Western Ghats are endemic and hence emphasizes need to understand the ecology and conservation of amphibians of the region. A decade long research on amphibians of the Western Ghats has strengthened our view that amphibian research should also move beyond Western Ghats and Protected Areas, and should look into varied human modified land-uses, which harbours unknown refuge populations of amphibians.

We are channelizing our effort in conservation of amphibians with several research and outreach programmes. As a stepping stone in this direction was bringing a pictorial guide to identify the species of amphibians, which was lacking for almost two decades, with revised taxonomy and easy to use in field.

Projects that have been / being pursued under this theme are:

  • Ecological Explorations
  • Conserving Threatened Anurans in Myristica Swamps of Central Western Ghats
  • Stream scape ecology and conservation in fragmented landscape in central Western
    Ghats using diatoms and amphibians and systems approach
  • Frog Find - an android app for identifying frogs in the field