Confronted with the highest deforestation rate on the planet, and huge over-harvesting pressure, the relatively poorly-known amphibians of Southeast Asia are being driven towards an extinction crisis. At present, one-fifth of Southeast Asian amphibians are listed as threatened, and current estimates of amphibian species numbers are serious underestimates, with new species are being continuously discovered. Our lack of knowledge of this highly threatened group of animals hinders amphibian conservation in Southeast Asia.
My research strives to gain a better understanding the diversity and conservation status of amphibians in Southeast Asia, focusing on one of the most topographically diverse and populous countries – Vietnam- and to facilitate long-term amphibian biodiversity conservation. Central to my research are scientific expeditions to remote, unexplored, montane forests. These expeditions have resulted in the discovery of over a dozen new species of amphibian, including the bizarre Vampire Flying Frog (Rhacophorus vampyrus), a species with fanged tadpoles, and the tiny green-blooded Quang’s Tree Frog (Gracixalus quangi), with males that sing more like birds rather than your average frog. Local capacity building and transforming research outputs into a format useful for conservation prioritisation are also vital steps towards amphibian conservation in the region.