The western toad species complex, endemic to western North America, includes two montane species that have undergone extensive declines. These are the Yosemite toad, Bufo canorus, in the Sierra Nevada, and the southern Rocky Mountain populations of the boreal toad, B. borea. Most declines in the Rockies appear to have occurred before 1980, but a recent episode in Rocky Mountain National Park illustrates the rapidity and severity with which populations of toads can succumb, and that the phenomenon is still occurring. Causes of these declines, with experimental or observational support, include increasing ultraviolet radiation; disease; and interactions among several factors. However, significant questions about the generality of each of these hypotheses remain to be answered. Regardless of the cause of past and current declines, climate change in the coming decades may create conditions that will challenge the persistence of these species, and others not currently threatened.
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|conference||Ecological and earth sciences in mountain areas|