Monday, 7 July 2008

Meeting the challenge of conserving Madagascar's megadiverse amphibians : addition of a risk-assessment for the chytrid fungus

Frogs from Madagascar constitute one of the richest groups of amphibian fauna in the world, with currently 238 described species. Madagascar may be the only region of the world where amphibians are still surviving in a pre-decline phase, and where pro-active conservation measures are likely to work. Andreone et al. describe the development of an amphibian action plan for Madagascar, and show that Madagascar is a top priority for amphibian conservation. As a reply to Andreone et al, Lotters et al in PLoS Biology extend the argument by assessing the level of threat that the introduction of Bd poses to Madagascar's amphibians. Ecological niche-modelling revealed that there is a high risk of Bd spreading post-introduction over a major portion of Madagascar and areas most suitable for Bd largely overlap with both areas of highest amphibian species richness. This study reinforces the point that conservation efforts need to go beyond 'classical' strategies by incorporating stringent biosecurity measures into their planning.