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Conservation of amphibians in agroecosystems of the Argentine Pampean region

As a foundation for amphibian conservation actions in the Pampean region of Argentina, we propose to widen surveys of amphibian assemblages that inhabit agroecosystems beyond those conducted in 2009 to include extensive coverage of Buenos Aires Province, engaging agricultural workers from rural towns through an outreach and extension program. We propose the following specific objectives:

1. Survey and characterize amphibian assemblages that inhabit the Pampean region of Argentina, using indicators of species richness, abundance and diversity.

2. To relate patterns in assemblages with environmental variables and agroecosystem characteristics, we will survey the relevant physical, chemical and spatial factors and profiles of pesticides in bodies of water within agroecosystems that are used as breeding sites.

3. Generate a registry of types and prevalence of malformations and the species in which they are observed.

4. Continue to monitor Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) in amphibian assemblages of Pampean agroecosystems.

5. Implement an outreach and extensión program that reaches the different rural communities with information on amphibians that inhabit the region and their conservation challenges, placing special emphasis on the problems created by agricultural practices.

6. Expand the reach of the aforementioned programming through activities that include interactions with the different elements of the agricultural community (NGOs, trade organizations, print and radio outlets, and educational institutions). ($8,170)