Publication Date



Open access

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Biology (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Kathryn Tosney

Second Committee Member

Julian Lee

Third Committee Member

Julia Dallman

Fourth Committee Member

Jackson Gross


The amphibian decline phenomenon now involves in excess of a third of the roughly 6000 species of amphibians on the planet. The problems that drive the declines are diverse with no end in sight. The Amphibian Conservation Action Plan (ACAP) aims to stem amphibian decline through four recommended actions by researchers and conservation biologists: (1) Expand scientific understanding of amphibian declines and extinctions; (2) continue to document amphibian diversity and ecology and how they are changing; (3) develop and implement long-term conservation programs; (4) prepare emergency response actions for eminent crises. This Dissertation focused on two of those recommendations: expanding scientific understanding of amphibian declines and extinctions and continuing to document amphibian diversity and ecology and how they are changing. The first chapter is a review of the amphibian decline phenomenon. The second, third, and fourth chapters focus on expanding scientific understanding of amphibian diversity and ecology with the description of a formerly unknown species (chapter 2), and ecological papers on two poorly known species (chapters 3 and 4). Chapter five focuses on the first ACAP recommendation in improving scientific understanding of the causes behind amphibian decline. The chapter is an experimental examination of two related species and their developmental reactions to common heavy metal contaminants. The goal of this Dissertation is to contribute toward the general amphibian knowledge base relative to the recommendations of ACAP.


Cadmium; Xenopus Tropicalis; Xenopus Laevis; Rhinella Ceratophrys; LC50; Selenium; Zinc; EC50; Chromium; Teratogenic Index; Copper; Amphibian Taxonomy; Anodonthyla Hutchisoni; Leptodactylus Pustulatus