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Colorado State University

Publication Date

Spring 2023

Program Name

Panama: Tropical Ecology, Marine Ecosystems, and Biodiversity Conservation


Panama is an incredibly biodiverse country that houses 230 species of amphibians including 188 species of frogs, 35 of which are endemic to Panama. Commonly found in terrestrial and aquatic habitats, frogs play a very important role in the regulation of insect populations and serve as a valuable food resource to other predators. The greatest threat to amphibian species at this time is Chytridiomycosis, a fungal pathogen that infects the skin and often results in death. Many species of amphibians have already gone completely extinct or are extinct in the wild due to the proliferation of this disease. The skin of amphibians is semi- permeable and therefore may be susceptible to pollutants as well. Pesticides have been proven to cause death or malformations in all life stages among different frog species. To study the impacts of suspected pesticides on frog species diversity and abundance, twenty-four riparian transects were conducted in three different locations in El Valle de Antón that were believed to have varying levels of pesticides present. A total of 969 frogs were observed, representing 18 different species, and Shannon-Weiner diversity (H’) was calculated for each location. The location expected to be entirely lacking in pesticide presence had a Shannon-Weiner index value of 1.81 while the other two locations, in which pesticides were present, had values less than 1. The Shannon-Weiner index value was much higher in the location believed to have no pesticides present. Both locations in which pesticides were believed to be present had a higher overall abundance of frogs though the species richness and evenness were lower. The data support the idea that pesticide presence may negatively impact frog species diversity, though further research must be conducted to identify if pesticide presence is directly correlated to a decrease in frog species diversity.


Biodiversity | Environmental Indicators and Impact Assessment | Fresh Water Studies | Latin American Studies | Zoology


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