The 2015 ACAP thematic working groups are as follows. Note that, where applicable, at the end of each working group there are references to earlier 2007 ACAP chapters. Each working group has a web page where the outputs of the respective group are presented:
Because the identification and neutralization of threats are such fundamental first steps in species recovery, reintroduction can be risky without a full understanding of these issues. Although this problem is particularly acute in parts of the world where there are high levels of amphibian diversity but a poor understanding of their natural history, some well-researched species in Europe and North America continue to pose challenges in this respect (Group Co-Chairs: Richard Griffiths and Gemma Harding; 2007 ACAP Chapter: “Reintroductions”).
Habitat loss and degradation are well recognized as the largest threat to amphibian populations around the world (Group Co-Chairs: Jeanne Tarrant and Timo Paasikunnas; 2007 ACAP Chapters: “Designing a Network of Conservation Sites for Amphibians—Key Biodiversity Areas” & “Freshwater Resources and Associated Terrestrial Landscapes”).
Emerging infectious diseases are major threats to amphibian biodiversity. Bdhas caused massive extinctions in various parts of the world, and it has just been found in Madagascar, which has a highly diverse, endemic amphibian fauna. Bsal has just been described, which could devastate salamander species in Europe and the Americas. New viruses have been described in Europe that are highly virulent and have caused population extinctions (Group Co-Chairs: Penny Langhammer and Reid Harris; 2007 ACAP Chapter: “Infectious Diseases”).
Although contaminants are not necessarily playing a singular role in amphibian population declines on their own, it is likely that they are an important cofactor in many declines. A number of studies have shown that exposure to low environmental concentrations of contaminants such as pesticides can make amphibians more susceptible to disease (Group Co-Chairs: Michelle Boone & Jessica Hua; 2007 ACAP Chapter: “Evaluating the role of environmental contamination in amphibian population declines”).
Communication and education are both key to grow and sustain support for biodiversity conservation. Through communication and education, we identify threats to biodiversity at local and regional scales and also bring about the learning needed across groups to mitigate these threats (Group Co-Chairs: Rachel Rommel and Candace Hansen-Hendrikx).
Basic information on amphibian distributions, ranges, population sizes, conservation status and threats for many species and regions is still lacking, and many priority amphibian species or biodiverse priority regions have no conservation strategies in place (Group Co-Chairs: Anne Baker & Sally Wren).
Taxonomy is often the basis of priority action in conservation yet the complexities associated with amphibian taxonomy frequently result in unanswered questions and challenges when addressing conservation issues
(Actions developped by the ASG Secretariat with input from Darrel Frost, Rachunliu Kamei and Stephen Mahony; 2007 ACAP Chapter: “Systematics and Conservation”).
A lack of information on global amphibian trade is significantly hampering effective response to emerging diseases and contributing to the unsustainable harvesting of some amphibian species (Group Chair: Jonathan Kolby; 2007 ACAP Chapter: Over-harvesting).
With the threat of emerging infectious amphibian diseases such as Bd, Bsal and Ranavirus, the lack of screening for these diseases in biodiversity surveys poses a significant threat to amphibians around the world. Ensuring that the integration of disease monitoring is a standard part of all surveys is of critical importance in areas such as Madagascar (Bd),the Americas (Bsal) and Europe (Ranavirus) (Group Chair:
10. Genome Resources
Amphibian genome resources impact many aspects of amphibian conservation including: infectious diseases, trade and policy, climate change, ecotoxicology, assessing the success of species conservation strategies, reintroductions, management, habitat loss and restoration, invasive alien species, surveys and monitoring, taxonomy and systematics, education and awareness and even politics (Group Chair: Caren Helbing; 2007 ACAP Chapter: “Bioresource banking efforts in support of amphibian conservation”).
11. Climate Change
A better understanding of the potential impacts that climate change has on amphibians is needed. By improving our understanding of the species to be most affected by any changes in climatic conditions and how those particular species will likely be impacted we are better able to direct the conservation prioritization and planning processes for range restricted and threatened species (Group Co-Chairs: Guin Wogan and Johannes Penner; 2007 ACAP Chapter: “Climate change, biodiversity loss, and amphibian declines”).
12. Captive Breeding
The captive breeding community must be able to respond to new threats as they emerge, emerging infectious diseases in particular. There is currently limited captive breeding capacity and more species in need of conservation breeding programs than there are programs established. As new threats emerge and more species become threatened, there is a risk that the captive breeding community will be unable to respond (Group Co-Chairs: Ben Tapley and Kevin Johnson; 2007 ACAP Chapters: “Captive programs” and “Gamete banking”).
Note: While there is a 2007 ACAP chapter dedicated to amphibian extinction risk assessments, please note that the Amphibian Red List Authority (Amphibian RLA) is responsible for all Red List matters, so a working group was not established for this subject.