Dispatches from Gabon



Our expeditions to Gabon to study to the river biogeography of the Ogooué was very productive. In 5 weeks, we sampled over 1000 amphibians and reptiles from 7 different stations spread around the entire river. Since Gabon has seen so little herpetological work it was impossible for us to know which species would be the focal species of the study until we were in the field collecting. These are the species that we could get sufficient sampling of (>10 individuals) at all seven of our stations. At the end of the study we landed on four focal species belonging to three families (Scotobleps gabonicusHyperolius cinnamomeoventrisH. ocellatus, and Hylarana albolabris). These species will be the backbone of for this study.

I’ve never felt so much pressure to find frogs before and never has catching a very common, widespread species been such a thrill. In addition to our four focal species, we collected specimens and tissue from nearly 70 other species of amphibians and reptiles. Many of these species were present at all sites but in low numbers (<5 individuals) or were very common at some stations but not all. These species will still play an important role in testing the influence of the Ogooué River on population genetic structure and speciation.