New modelling shows how interrupted flows in Australia’s Murray River endanger frogs

Flooding in Australia’s Murray-Darling Basin is creating ideal breeding conditions for many native species that have evolved to take advantage of temporary flood conditions. Scientists have now developed virtual models of the Murray River to reveal a crucial link between natural flooding and the extinction risk of endangered southern bell frogs (Litoria raniformis; also known as growling grass frogs). Southern bell frogs are one of Australia’s 100 Priority Threatened Species. This endangered frog breeds during spring and summer when water levels increase in their wetlands. However, the natural flooding patterns in Australia’s largest river system have been negatively impacted by expansive river regulation that in some years, sees up to 60% of river water extracted for human use.Flooding in Australia’s Murray-Darling Basin is creating ideal breeding conditions for many native species that have evolved to take advantage of temporary flood conditions. Scientists have now developed virtual models of the Murray River to reveal a crucial link between natural flooding and the extinction risk of endangered southern bell frogs (Litoria raniformis; also known as growling grass frogs). Southern bell frogs are one of Australia’s 100 Priority Threatened Species. This endangered frog breeds during spring and summer when water levels increase in their wetlands. However, the natural flooding patterns in Australia’s largest river system have been negatively impacted by expansive river regulation that in some years, sees up to 60% of river water extracted for human use.

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