Species turnover: the case of stream amphibians of rainforests in the Western Ghats, southern India

  • Karthikeyan Vasudevan
  • Ajith Kumar
  • Ravi Chellam
Part of the Topics in Biodiversity and Conservation book series (TOBC, volume 4)


We examined species turnover in stream amphibians in rainforest in two hill ranges (Ashambu and Anamalai Hills) in the Western Ghats in south India. In each hill range, six stream segments (100 m in length) belonging to three drainage or rivers were surveyed three to four times in three seasons over 1 year. Species turnover (using 1-Sorenson’s index) was estimated between all possible pairs of sites at three spatial scales — within drainage, between drainage and between hill ranges. Similar matrices were also developed for altitudinal difference and geographic distance between sites. A total of 30 species in four families were recorded from 3681 individuals. The hill ranges differed significantly in the composition of the stream community at both the species and family levels. Within the hill range, species turnover was correlated with altitudinal difference and not with geographic distance. Anamalai Hills had a greater species turnover than Ashambu Hills, both within and between drainage. There was also a high turnover between these two hill ranges, with only two shared species. This turnover explains the fact that only 30–40 species have been reported from different hill ranges, although regional diversity is high with about 130 species. The turnover also predicts that several undetected species should occur in hill ranges and drainage that have not been surveyed. The conservation model for mammals and birds, consisting of a few large protected areas, may not adequately address the conservation requirements of amphibians. Protection of rainforest frogs may require many protected areas in different drainages.

Key words

Abundance Anurans Beta diversity Conservation Species richness 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Allmon W.D. 1991. A plot study of forest floor litter frogs, Central Amazon, Brazil. J. Trop. Ecol. 7: 503–522.Google Scholar
  2. Aravind N.A., Uma Shaanker R. and Ganeshiah K.N. 2004. Croak, croak, croak: are there more frogs to be discovered in the Western Ghats? Current Sci. 86: 1471–1472.Google Scholar
  3. Biju 2001. A synopsis of the frog fauna of the Western Ghats, India. Occasional Publication of the Indian Society for Conservation Biology 1: 1–24.Google Scholar
  4. Bonnet E. and Van de Peer Y. 2002. zt: a Sofware tool for simple and partial mantel tests. J. Stat. Software 7(10).Google Scholar
  5. Cincotta R.P., Wisnewski J. and Engelman R. 2000. Human population in the biodiversity hotspots. Nature 404: 990–992.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Colwell R.K. 1997. EstimateS: Statistical estimation of species richness and shared species from samples. Version 5. User’s Guide and application published at Scholar
  7. Condit R., Pitman N., Leigh E.G.Jr., Chave J., Terborgh J., Foster R.B., Nunez P.V., Aguilar S., Valencia R., Villa G., Muller-Landau H.C., Losos E. and Hubbell S.P. 2002. Beta-diversity in tropical forest trees. Science 295: 666–669.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Crist O.T., Veech J.A., Gering J.C. and Summerville K.S. 2003. Partitioning species diversity across landscapes and regions: a hierarchical analysis of α, β, and γ diversity. Am. Nat. 162(6): 734–743.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Daniels R.J.R. 1992. Geographical distribution patterns of amphibians in the Western Ghats, India. J. Biogeogr. 19: 521–529.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Duellman W.E. 1988. Patterns of species diversity in anuran amphibians in the American tropics. Ann. Missouri Bot. Garden 75: 79–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Duellman W.E. 1999. Global distribution of amphibians: patterns, conservation, and future challenges. In: Duellman W.E. (ed.), Patterns of Distribution of Amphibians: A Global Perspective. The John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore pp.1–30.Google Scholar
  12. Easa P.S. 1998. Survey of Reptiles and Amphibians in Kerala part of Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. KFRI Report No.148, Kerala Forest Research Institute, Kerala, India.Google Scholar
  13. Harte J., McCarthy S., Taylor K., Kinzig A. and Fischer M.L. 1999. Estimating species-area relationships from plot to landscape scale using species spatial-turnover data. Oikos 86: 45–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hubbell S.P. 2001. The Unified Neutral Theory of Biodiversity and Biogeography. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.Google Scholar
  15. Inger R.F. 1999. Distribution of amphibians in Southern Asia and adjacent islands. In: Duellman W.E. (ed.), Patterns of Distribution of Amphibians: A Global Perspective. The John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, pp. 445–481.Google Scholar
  16. Inger R.F. and Stuebing R.B. 1992. The montane amphibian fauna of northwestern Borneo. Malayan Nature J. 46: 41–51.Google Scholar
  17. Inger R.F., Shaffer H.B., Koshy M. and Bakde R. 1987. Ecological structure of a herpetological assemblage in South India. Amphibia-Reptilia 8: 189–202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Johnsingh A.J.T. 2001. The Kalakad-Mundanthurai tiger reserve: a global heritage of biological diversity. Current Sci. 80: 378–388.Google Scholar
  19. Krishnamurthy S.V. 1999. Amphibian diversity in a few selected environs of Western Ghats. In: Hussain S.A. and Achar K.P. (eds), Biodiversity of Western Ghats complex of Karnataka. Biodiversity Initiative Trust, Mangalore, India.Google Scholar
  20. Pascal J.P. 1988. Wet evergreen forests of the Western Ghats of India: ecology, structure, floristic composition and succession. Institut de Français, Pondichéry, Travaux de la section Scientifique et technique, Pondicherry, India, xx bis, 345pp.Google Scholar
  21. Tuomisto H., Ruokolainen K. and Yli-Halla M. 2003. Dispersal, environment and floristic variation of Western Amazonian Forests. Science 299: 241–244.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Vasudevan K. 2000. Amphibian Species Assemblages of the Wet Evergreen Forests of Southern Western Ghats of India and the Effect of Forest fragmentation on their diversity. Ph.D. thesis, Utkal University, Bhubaneshwar, ix + 115 pp + vi appendices.Google Scholar
  23. Veech J.A., Summerville K.S., Crist T.O. and Gering J.C. 2002. The additive partitioning of species diversity: recent revival of an old idea. Oikos 99: 3–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Voris H.K. and Inger R.F. 1995. Frog abundance along streams in Bornean forests. Conserv. Biol. 9: 679–683.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Wolda H. 1981. Similarity indices, sample size and diversity. Oecologia 50: 296–302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Whittaker R.H. 1960. Vegetation of the Siskiyou Mountains, Oregon and California. Ecol. Monogr. 30: 279–338.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karthikeyan Vasudevan
    • 1
  • Ajith Kumar
    • 2
  • Ravi Chellam
    • 1
  1. 1.Wildlife Institute of IndiaDehra DunIndia
  2. 2.Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural HistoryAnaikatti, CoimbatoreIndia

Personalised recommendations