Abstract

In 1989, it dawned on participants at the First World Congress of Herpetology that observed declines in amphibian populations might actually be global in scope and unprecedented in severity. Three decades of research since then has produced an enormous increase in our knowledge of amphibian ecology and appreciation of the complexity of possible causes for amphibian population declines. In September 2019, 30 yr after the First World Congress ended, a day-long, international symposium on amphibian population declines was held at the Redpath Museum of McGill University in Montreal, Canada. Symposium participants drew upon the knowledge gained over three decades of study to look ahead with fresh ideas to address this vital aspect of the global decline of biodiversity. Despite tremendous progress over the past three decades there is still much about amphibian ecology, population biology, and pathology that remains unknown. Amphibian declines have turned out to be more complex than originally expected and the result of multiple possible causes acting across landscapes, among taxa, or between populations in ways that are not at all uniform. The papers in this special issue of Herpetologica, which stem from the symposium, explore much of our current understanding of amphibian declines and their causes.

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