Alessandro participated as Resource Faculty for the OTS course Tropical Biology at La Selva Biological Station in Sarapiqui, Costa Rica. The group of student surveyed amphibians and reptiles in nine 10x10 m leaf litter plots across three soil types (recent alluvial, old alluvial, and residual) throughout the reserve. There is a long tradition for OTS course students to survey the litter herpetofauna, and an overview of these studies discovered that amphibian and squamate abundance and diversity declines during the period from 1972 to 2007. The densities we estimated this month are still low compared with densities from the 70s, but (at first glance) not as low as one would have predicted given the rate of decline estimated in 2008 (see publication here). One of the species, Dendrobates auratus (black and green poison dart frog; see photo in gallery) seems to be spreading through La Selva after a suspected accidental introduction from a nearby breeding facility.
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