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By Michael J Lannoo

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By including data from populations that do not appear to be in “decline,” one can avoid biasing the results. As with all reviews of published studies, there are some pitfalls associated with meta-analysis. First, because journals are biased against studies reporting null results, those studies failing to show evidence of a decline may not be as prevalent in the literature. By contacting amphibian population and community ecologists and requesting the use of unpublished data 14 P H I L O S O P H Y, VA L U E J U D G M E N T S , A N D D E C L I N E sets (including those in unpublished theses and dissertations), one can attempt to eliminate such a bias.

The magnitude of effects is not dependent on sample sizes; for this reason, meta-analysis offers a statistically rigorous approach to the results of independent experiments that have differing sample sizes and experimental designs. Meta-analysis may be especially useful for examining patterns in amphibian declines because it serves as a powerful means of controlling statistical type II errors (the probability of failing to reject a false null hypothesis; Arnqvist and Wooster, 1995; Krzysik, 1998a).

The scientific community responded by forming the IUCN/ SSC Declining Amphibian Populations Task Force (DAPTF) in December 1990. This Task Force is also affiliated with the World Congress of Herpetology. The Task Force operations are linked to the greater conservation community through the IUCN and the international DIVERSITAS program; these links ensure that the broader implications of the amphibian declines will be given appropriate attention. The Task Force has been successively chaired by Dr.

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