Larissa Bailey (Colorado State), USGS, FWS, and SCC volunteers building vernal pools at Patuxent NWR, to adaptively manage for climate change. Photo by: A. Green.
Only a few years ago, amphibians were rarely considered in the development and implementation of management plans. But now, it’s not uncommon to see amphibian populations as the primary targets of management activities.
ARMI scientists conduct research on the impacts of various traditional management actions on amphibians, and have worked with partners to develop and test novel management options specifically to benefit amphibians.
Important decisions are made every day on management and policy that affect multiple wildlife species. ARMI works with its partners in Federal and State agencies to develop processes for structuring their natural resource decisions to achieve their conservation objectives related to amphibians.
ARMI Products on Management
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COMPARATIVE MICROHABITAT CHARACTERISTICS AT OVIPOSITON SITES OF THE CALIFORNIA RED-LEGGED FROG (RANA DRAYTONII)
Authors: Alvarez JA, Cook DG, Yee JL, van Hattem MG, Fong DR, Fisher RN | Date: 2013-12-31 | Outlet: Herpetological Conservation and Biology | Format: .PDF
We studied the microhabitat characteristics of 747 egg masses of the federallythreatened California Red-legged Frog (Rana draytonii) at eight sites in California. Our study showed that a broad range of aquatic habitats are utilized by ovipositing R. draytonii, including sites with perennial and ephemeral water sources, natural and constructed wetlands, lentic and lotic hydrology, and sites surrounded by protected lands and nested within modified urban areas. We recorded 45 different egg mass attachment types, although the use of only a few types was common at each site. These attachment types ranged from branches and roots of riparian trees, emergent and submergent wetland vegetation, flooded upland grassland/ruderal vegetation, and debris. Eggs were deposited in relatively shallow water (mean 39.7 cm) when compared to maximum site depths. We found that most frogs in artificial pond, natural creek, and artificial channel habitats deposited egg masses within one meter of the shore, while egg masses in a seasonal marsh averaged 27.3 m from the shore due to extensive emergent vegetation. Rana draytonii appeared to delay breeding in lotic habitats and in more inland sites compared to lentic habitats and coastal sites. Eggs occurred as early as mid-December at a coastal artificial pond and as late as mid-April in an inland natural creek. We speculate that this delay in breeding may represent a method of avoiding high-flow events and/or freezing temperatures. Understanding the factors related to the reproductive needs of this species can contribute to creating, managing, or preserving appropriate habitat, and promoting species recovery.
Correction of Locality Records for the Endangered Arroyo Toad (Anaxyrus californicus) from the Desert Region of Southern California
Authors: Ervin EL, Beaman KR, Fisher RN | Date: 2013-12 | Outlet: Bulletin of the Southern California Academy of Sciences | Format: .PDF
The development of an effective recovery plan for an endangered species requires knowledge of that species distribution and spatial arrangements within preferred habitat. Although the best available information of a species distribution is used to develop a plan, it is often lacking in regard to its actual geographical extent. The arroyo toad (Anaxyrus californicus) occurs in coastal drainages from Monterey County, California, south into northwestern Baja California, Mexico. Through field reconnaissance and the study of museum specimens, we determined that the four reported populations of the arroyo toad in the Sonoran Desert region of Riverside, San Diego, and Imperial counties, California are in error. Two additional sites in the Sonoran Desert are discussed regarding the possibility that the species occurs there. We recommend the continued study of arroyo toad populations in order to establish a better understanding of their distribution and the boundaries of their geographical range.
Evolutionary Hotspots in the Mojave Desert
Authors: Vandergast AG, Inman RD, Barr KR, Nussear KE, Esque TC, Hathaway SA, Wood DA, Medica PA, Breinholt JW, Stephen CL, Gottscho AD, Marks SB, Jennings WB, Fisher RN | Date: 2013-04-15 | Outlet: Diversity 5:293-319 | Format: .PDF
Genetic diversity within species provides the raw material for adaptation and evolution. Just as regions of high species diversity are conservation targets, identifying regions containing high genetic diversity and divergence within and among populations may be important to protect future evolutionary potential. When multiple co-distributed species show spatial overlap in high genetic diversity and divergence, these regions can be considered evolutionary hotspots. We mapped spatial population genetic structure for 17 animal species across the Mojave Desert, USA. We analyzed these in concurrence and located 10 regions of high genetic diversity, divergence or both among species. These were mainly concentrated along the western and southern boundaries where ecotones between mountain, grassland and desert habitat are prevalent, and along the Colorado River. We evaluated the extent to which these hotspots overlapped protected lands and utility-scale renewable energy development projects of the Bureau of Land Management. While 30–40% of the total hotspot area was categorized as protected, between 3–7% overlapped with proposed renewable energy project footprints, and up to 17% overlapped with project footprints combined with transmission corridors. Overlap of evolutionary hotspots with renewable energy development mainly occurred in 6 of the 10 identified hotspots. Resulting GIS-based maps can be incorporated into ongoing landscape planning efforts and highlight specific regions where further investigation of impacts to population persistence and genetic connectivity may be warranted.