Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: North Carolina
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

North Carolina Project

Strategic habitat conservation and adaptive strategies for recovery and pre-listing conservation of Eleutherodactylus (coqui) amphibians in Puerto Rico.

August 2019 - September 2022


Participating Agencies

  • US Fish and Wildlife Service, Southeast Region
  • SE Climate and Adaptation Science Center

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources want to develop a plan of actions to help the recovery of two endangered species in the genus Eleutherodactylus (commonly known as “coqui”), while also reducing the risk that 14 other coqui species are added to the Endangered Species list. Our multi-disciplinary research team responded by developing foundational environmental and ecological knowledge required to build a robust strategy. To date, we have identified factors influencing where species occur, their abundance, and key drivers of reproduction influenced by two major sources of environmental change—climate and land use change—for three representative species (E. wightmanae, E. britonni, and E. antillensis). For this next research stage we propose to: 1) characterize the ability of the three representative species plus the endangered E. juanriveroi, to cope with environmental stresses (i.e. their adaptive capacity) using a combination of laboratory and field experiments, 2) map the genetic structure of these species to learn about connections between different populations and identify centers of genetic diversity, and 3) assist agencies in the development of conservation strategies centered on two potential adaptation actions: species relocations to new habitats (i.e. translocations) and making connections to climate-resilient habitats. By investigating the most effective ways to carry out translocations, we will help decision makers answer WHEN it is best to begin consideration of translocations versus continuing to manage at existing locations. And by investigating which habitats have the potential to be resilient in a changing climate, we will help decision makers answer WHERE the best ‘areas of conservation interest’ would be for translocated individuals. Ultimately, our methods will be applicable to other environmental change settings in the context of developing recovery plans and for helping to prevent the listing of species.

Research Publications Publication Date
Collazo, J.A., A. J. Terando, M. J. Eaton, E. Martinez, R.C. Bell, A. Puente-Rolon. 2023. Strategic Habitat Conservation and Adaptive Strategies for Recovery and Pre-listing Conservation of Eleutherodactylus (coqui) Amphibians in Puerto Rico. Cooperator Report (ScienceBase). | Abstract January 2024
Presentations Presentation Date
Terando, A., J. Collazo, J. Bowden, M. Eaton, R. Majumder, E. Martinez, A. Rivera-Burgos, and R. Chaparro. 2023. Exposure risk for high elevation tropical anurans based on observed physiological thresholds and statistical-dynamical downscaling of global climate model simulations. AGU 2023, San Francisco,CA. December 2023
Rafael Chaparro1, Ana C. Rivera1, Eloy Martinez2, Adam J Terando3, Mitch J. Eaton3, and Jaime A. Collazo. 2023. Thermal limits of coqui frogs in Puerto Rico: implications for conservation. 7th Symposium of Puerto Rican Herpetology. September 13, University of Puerto Rico, Arecibo. September 2023
Rafael Chaparro, Ana C. Rivera, Eloy Martinez, Adam J Terando, Mitch J. Eaton, and Jaime A. Collazo. 2023. Foundational data to support Climate Adaptation of Eleutherodactylus Frogs in Puerto Rico. To be presented at SEAFWA Conference, Oct. 2023.
July 2023
Theses and Dissertations Publication Date
Chaparro, R. 2023. Characterizing Metabolic Responses of Eleutherodactylus Frogs in Puerto Rico to Different Thermal Treatments: Implications for Conservation and Management. M.S. Thesis, North Carolina State University. May 2023