Relationship between private land use and frog diversity
on Colón Island, Bocas del Toro, Panama
Tropical islands are globally threatened ecological systems that are exposed to a multitude of different pressures from both anthropogenic and natural sources. Throughout tropical ecosystems, frogs are often one of the most threatened vertebrate groups due to their sensitive physiological characteristics and inability to migrate from a disturbed habitat. Frog populations on Colón Island, the main island in the Bocas del Toro archipelago in Panama, are vulnerable to threats from expanding development and increased forest habitat fragmentation. Through examining frog populations and habitat compositions at five sites with three different land management strategies, I found increased diversity in low disturbance forest sites and a greater similarity in the frog communities between the two recently disturbed sites, suggesting that the pattern of forest succession on ColÃ³n is limiting the diversity of frog species that can live in those sites. Variations in diversity between management strategies are highlighted in three frog species, Oophaga pumilio, Phyllobates lugubris, and Allobates talamancae, which can depend on specialized habitat characteristics within sites. Although there is currently more forest habitat that could promote improved frog habitats in future years if the forest continues to mature, the increase in population on Colón Island is continuing to fragment habitats, which could have negative long-term implications for local frog populations.