Caribbean hurricanes often impact terrestrial vertebrates in forested environments. On 21 September 1998, Hurricane Georges impacted Puerto Rico with sustained winds in excess of 166 km/hr, causing damage to forests of the island's principal mountain range; the Cordillera Central. We estimated forest frog abundance and diversity from call counts conducted along marked transects before and after Hurricane Georges in two forests reserves of the Cordillera Central (Maricao and Guilarte). We used distance sampling to estimate density of Eleutherodactylus coqui and recorded counts of other species. After the hurricane, the abundance of E. coqui increased in both reserves compared to prehurricane levels while abundance of other frog species decreased. In Maricao, relative abundance of E. richmondi (P = 0.013) and E. brittoni (P = 0.034) were significantly lower after the hurricane. Moreover, species richness and evenness of the Maricao and Guilarte frog assemblages declined after the hurricane. Our results on abundance patterns of the forest frog assemblages of Maricao and Guilarte Forests were similar to those reported from the Luquillo Experimental Forest after Hurricane Hugo in September 1989. Long-term demographic patterns of the forest frog assemblages in the Cordillera Central may be associated with changes due to the ecological succession in post-hurricane forests. Copyright 2005 College of Arts and Sciences.
Additional publication details
Diversity and abundance of forest frogs (Anura: Leptodactylidae) before and after Hurricane Georges in the Cordillera Central of Puerto Rico