Tropical Ecology and Conservation [Monteverde Institute]

Alternative Title

Distribución de la herpetofauna y la riqueza de especies a lo largo de un gradiente altitudinal


Beth Schlimm



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Publication Date

August 2007


Monteverde, Costa Rica has experienced a significant increase in temperature and reduction in mist frequency in the last 20 years. These changes in abiotic conditions have been linked to the extinction 40 percent of local amphibian populations and several reptile species. The purpose of this study was to determine if the herpetofaunal community composition of Monteverde is still transitioning in response to continued changes in abiotic conditions. Reptiles and amphibians were censused along a 191 m elevational gradient to observe zonal distributions, and species richness and abundance. Species distributions were observed for shifts from their expected ranges. Visual and audio data were collected in the study. Visual data include collection of herpetofauna from trail transect day and night hikes and tree buttress plots while audio data consist of nighttime amphibian call documentation. Upslope shifts in distribution were found for three frog species. Species richness and abundance were not significantly correlated with elevation. Distributional shifts to higher elevations as demonstrated by the herpetofauna in this study seem to follow the trend of upslope shifts in cloud and mist distribution of tropical cloud forests. Changes in abiotic conditions including temperature, cloudiness and mist frequency may be exerting increasing pressure on herpetofauna that is resulting in distributional shifts and changing species richness trends in Monteverde.


Monteverde, Costa Rica ha tenido un aumento significativo de temperatura y una reducción de frecuencia de la neblina en los últimos 20 años. Estos cambios en las condiciones abióticas se han relacionado con la extinción del 40% de las poblaciones de anfibios locales y varias especies de reptiles. El propósito de este estudio fue determinar si la composición de la comunidad de herpetofauna de Monteverde todavía esta cambiando en respuesta a cambios continuos en las condiciones abióticas.


Amphibians, Adaptation (Biology), CIEE Summer 2007

Palabras claves

Anfibios, Adaptación (Biología), CIEE Verano 2007


9 pages

Geographic Location

Monteverde (Puntarenas, Costa Rica)

Holding Location

Monteverde Institute


English; Spanish

Media Type



Digital Only





Herpetofauna distribution and species richness along an elevational gradient



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