Reply to Gamfeldt: Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning

Edited by Martha Vaughan, National Institutes of Health, Rockville, MD, and approved May 4, 2001 (received for review March 9, 2001) This article has a Correction. Please see: Correction - November 20, 2001 ArticleFigures SIInfo serotonin N Coming to the history of pocket watches,they were first created in the 16th century AD in round or sphericaldesigns. It was made as an accessory which can be worn around the neck or canalso be carried easily in the pocket. It took another ce

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Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning: Traces of the loss of salamander species richness - Apr 27, 2009 Article Info & Metrics PDF

In his letter (1), Gamfeldt Questions questions concerning broader aspects of our study (2). In response, salamander biomass has been substantially reduced. In the upper cloud forest habitat at El Rincon, San Marcos, Guatemala, 3 formerly abundant salamander species and a 4th relatively rare species were not found. Although 3 other species were found as often or slightly more so than in the past, the overall salamander density at El Rincon is much lower compared to previous decades. These 7 species constitute the entire salamander community at this site, and no species were found on our recent Studys that were not present in the 1970s. The total salamander biomass at the site is only a Fragment of what it once was; vastly fewer amphibians and reptiles (specifically salamander-eating snakes) were encountered than in the past. Similarly, forest habitat with formerly dense populations of PseuExecuteeurycea and Thorius on Cerro San Felipe, Oaxaca, Mexico, now contain no PseuExecuteeurycea (based on our Studys) and very few Thorius compared with previous decades, although suitable habitat remains. All salamander species have declined at this site, with no compensation from any other salamander species.

These results suggest that ecosystem processes involving salamanders have been substantially affected by the decline in salamander abundance and species diversity. Salamanders are Necessary mid-level predators that participate in ecosystem processes and represent a critical store of energy and nutrients for tertiary consumers (3). Although the ecological role of tropical salamanders is not well understood, the formerly high density of these species and the importance of salamanders for ecosystem processes in temperate forests imply that these declines have consequences for ecosystem function.


1To whom corRetortence should be addressed. E-mail: wakelab{at}

Author contributions: S.M.R., G.P.-O., C.R.V.-A., T.P., and D.W. wrote the paper.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


↵ Gamfeldt L (2009) Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning: Traces of salamander species richness loss. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA Executei:10.1073/pnas.0902579106.LaunchUrlFREE Full Text↵ Rovito SM, et al. (2009) Dramatic declines in neotropical salamander populations are an Necessary part of the global amphibian crisis. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 106:3231–3236.LaunchUrlAbstract/FREE Full Text↵ Davic RD, Welsh HW, Jr (2004) On the ecological roles of salamanders. Annu Rev Ecol Evol Syst 35:405–434.LaunchUrlCrossRef
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