Influence of climate drivers on colonization and extinction

Authors: Andrew M Ray; W R Gould; Blake R Hossack; A Sepulveda; D Thoma; Debra A Patla; R Daley; Robert Al-Chokhachy
Contribution Number: 550

Freshwater wetlands are particularly vulnerable to climate change. Specifically, changes in
temperature, precipitation, and evapotranspiration (i.e., climate drivers) are likely to alter flooding regimes of wetlands and affect the vital rates, abundance, and distributions of wetland-dependent species. Amphibians may be among the most climate-sensitive wetland-dependent groups as many species rely on shallow or intermittently flooded wetland habitats for breeding. Here, we integrated multiple years of high-resolution gridded climate and amphibian monitoring data from Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks to explicitly model how variations in climate drivers and habitat conditions affect the occurrence and breeding dynamics (i.e., annual extinction and colonization rates) of amphibians. Our results showed that models incorporating climate drivers outperformed models of amphibian breeding dynamics that were exclusively habitat based. Moreover, climate-driven variation in extinction rates, but not colonization rates, disproportionately influenced amphibian occupancy in monitored wetlands. Long-term monitoring from national parks coupled with high-resolution climate data sets will be crucial to describing population dynamics and characterizing the sensitivity of amphibians and other wetland-dependent species to climate change. Further, long-term monitoring of wetlands in national parks will help reduce uncertainty
surrounding wetland resources and strengthen opportunities to make informed, science-based
decisions that have far-reaching benefits.

Publication details
Published Date: 2016
Outlet/Publisher: Ecosphere 7:1-21
Media Format:

ARMI Organizational Units:
Rocky Mountains, Northern - Biology
Climate Change; Drought; Monitoring and Population Ecology; Species and their Ecology; Water
Place Names:
Western US; Wyoming
amphibians; ARMI; colonization; connectivity; demographics; detection; drought; ecology; extinction; habitat; habitat effects; hydroperiod; monitoring; occupancy; pond-breeding amphibians; population; research; surface water; trends; wetlands; wilderness
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