This benchmark volume documents in comprehensive detail a major environmental crisis: rapidly declining amphibian populations and the disturbing developmental problems that are increasingly prevalent within many amphibian species. Horror stories on this topic have been featured in the scientific and popular press over the past fifteen years, invariably asking what amphibian declines are telling us about the state of the environment. Are declines harbingers of devastated ecosystems or simply weird reflections of a peculiar amphibian world?
This compendium—presenting new data, reviews of current literature, and comprehensive species accounts—reinforces what scientists have begun to suspect, that amphibians are a lens through which the state of the environment can be viewed more clearly. And, that the view is alarming and presages serious concerns for all life, including that of our own species.
The first part of this work consists of more than fifty essays covering topics from the causes of declines to conservation, surveys and monitoring, and education. The second part consists of species accounts describing the life history and natural history of every known amphibian species in the United States.