Amphibian Declines: The Conservation Status of United States Species

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We downloaded a dataset of articles published in journals linked to the Core Collection of the Web of Science WoS and in the Scopus database from to July We used these two databases because they are complementary since some journals are available only in the Scopus, while others are available only in the WoS, and also because only peer-reviewed journals are indexed in both database.

After download the articles, we selected only research articles and review articles to be screened. Our publication analysis was based on two steps.

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Records found after this search were screened to evaluate i the temporal distribution of published articles; ii the country that mostly contributed to this subject; iii what is the subject area and journals that mostly published articles related to these key words; iv how are the citations and what is the most cited article related to these key words.

Records found in this search were screened to evaluate whether the articles explored education approaches working with amphibians. We analyzed the same four aspects used to ecological research records, and additionally, we separated records according to type review or not ; relationship to the conservation subject; use of amphibians as the main article focus; use of teaching activities with teachers, students or local community; if teaching activities were developed, what were the students degree; and finally, if articles presented theoretical or practical approach.

The number of records increased 10 times in average from the 90s to the last decade, reaching published articles with this subject in United States of America stands as the country that published more articles, with almost four times more records than the other countries. Most records were related to Ecology, Zoology and Biodiversity Conservation categories, and published in the journal Biological Conservation and Conservation Biology.

Finally, to the 3, article records we found 81, citations and the most cited article was Stuart et al. In our second analysis, we found records of articles and reviews using the key words related to attitudes towards amphibian conservation in an education context.


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However, only 42 records were related to attitudes towards amphibian conservation indeed, and the others only cited the need for some education activity, for example. Regarding the 42 education records, United States of America still stands as the country that published more articles than other countries. Article records in this second search were most related to Educational Research, Developmental Biology and Environmental Science, and journals such as International Journal of Developmental Biology and International Journal of Science Education published more articles than others within this theme.

To the 42 article records related to education activities we found 1, citations and the most cited articles were Crawford - Embracing the essence of inquiry: New roles for science teachers and Randler et al.

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Analyzing in deep the 42 education records, eight were review articles, 22 discussed amphibian conservation, in 27 amphibians stand as the main focus and in 14 amphibians stand as a secondary focus. Moreover, eight records were related to teaching activities with teachers, while 31 performed teaching activities with students and eight performed teaching activities with local community.

Article records related to teaching activities with students involved all student degrees one record with preschool, four records with elementary school, seven records with high school, 10 records with undergraduate, four records with elementary and high school, one record with pre and high school, and three records with elementary, high and undergraduate students. Finally, seven records presented theoretical approaches, while 27 presented practical approaches and eight used both theoretical and practical approaches.

Our main findings indicate a positive publication rate of peer-reviewed articles related to education activities, which is correlated with ecological articles dealing with amphibian species decline and conservation. However, records are strongly increasing in ecological researches, while records of education activities are slightly increasing. Most citations are also attributed to the ecological articles instead of education activities.

Moreover, independent of the scientific approach used ecological research or education activity United States of America stands as a leading country in publication records. Finally, we found a huge variety of methods and approaches within education records. On one hand, we highlight that our results are related to articles and reviews published in journals indexed in the WoS and Scopus, and many local journals specialized in education practices have not been considered here. On the other hand, our results suggest that records of education activities related to amphibian conservation, published in peer-reviewed journals and indexed in international databases could be increasing together with ecological research, despite still be a step back of ecological researches on amphibian conservation.

This relationship could be occurring because performing a scientific education activity depends on the primary knowledge created with scientific research e. Cachapuz et al. However, we also suggest that this discrepancy between ecological and education records is related to the nature of both disciplines.

Differently from ecological research, education activities are most focused in the practice of develop a project instead of generate data that ends in a scientific article. Thus, practitioners could be making and developing their projects without a proper evaluation of the project results. The lack of project results evaluation ends in the lack of project efficiency evaluation, and lack of peer-reviewed article, which if published, could indicate a standard method to be followed in other similar occasions.

It is clear that education activities are important to improve conservation practices Fujitani et al. Additionally, considering the world extent, these education activities are potentially presenting a great variety of methods, which should be published more frequently in a common international language to be more easily shared around the world, helping others to develop and advance conservation strategies. This process is most important in an Era of biodiversity decline, and particularly of amphibian decline, which constitute an international "crisis". Local practices with standardized methods should be applied and published in international journals, to help inspiring teachers to rethink their actions and needs at school e.

Brito Filho In fact, many education researches that promote awareness and changes in human attitudes related to wild life were published e. Nisbet et al. Facing the amphibian species decline, a strong step forward could be 'tear down the walls' between science and the common sense at classrooms e.


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Drissner et al. For example, teachers should emphasize the ecological role of amphibians and how they are important to human beings, trying to develop a positive attitude regarding amphibian species conservation Souza and Souza Amphibians may be horrifying and disgusting to many young students, but it may be related to school and people's social lives experiences Pontes-da-Silva et al. Crawford , Coll and Taylor is imminent to enhance conservation practices.

We understand that to achieve this goal, a new education program should be applied Coll and Taylor to create a more critical and practical view on the environmental problems Leff Perhaps, follows the idea of Capra to include teachers and students in a more active practice of ecology, the ecoliteracy, could be a good solution. However, these education programs should be always scientifically evaluated as an attempt to measuring their efficiency to change students or community perceptions, and this evaluation should be published to help communicating the program efficiency and avoid repeating mistakes in future programs.

In summary, records of ecological research are increasing very fast and showing the need to conservation practices. However, records of education practices with amphibian are increasing slower or at least, could not be published in peer-reviewed international journals indexed in WoS and Scopus databases. For us, conservation practices could starts at school by hands of biology teachers for example, but also should have standardized methods to be applied and have their efficiency evaluated, resulting in peer-reviewed article publications. This approach could increase records on education practices related to amphibian conservation and could help spreading the concern with species decline, also creating new active ways to reach and change students and local community perceptions on species decline.

The amphibian species decline is not only an ecological concern but also constitute an international education and social problem that should be more often addressed to increase the efforts to change students and people perceptions related to amphibian conservation. Authors thank to M.


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  • Randler for kind and helpful comments on the manuscript. Global amphibian declines: a problem in applied ecology. Annu Rev Ecol Syst Students' attitudes toward and knowledge about snakes in the semiarid region of Northeastern Brazil. J Ethnobiol Ethnomed Climate warming and the decline of amphibians and reptiles in Europe. J Biogeogr The amphibian decline crisis: A watershed for conservation biology?

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    Biol Conserv Complexity in conservation: lessons from the global decline of amphibian populations. Ecol Lett 5: Habitat Loss and Extinction in the Hotspots of Biodiversity. Conserv Biol From Science Education to Science Teatching: an epistemological rethinking. J Ethnobiol Ethnomed 8: 8. Technical Announcements.

    Amphibian Declines

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    Amphibian Conservation

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