Amphibians in the climate vice: loss and restoration of relilience of montane wetland ecosystems of the American West

Authors: Maureen E Ryan; Wendy J Palen; Michael J Adams; R M Rochefort
Contribution Number: 460


Wetlands in the remote mountains of the American West are the site of two massive ecological “experiments” spanning the 20th Century. In a kind of biological carpet-bombing following World War II, fish and wildlife managers introduced millions of predatory trout into fishless mountain ponds and lakes across the Western United States. The new top predators, which now occupy 95% of large mountain lakes, have truncated the habitat distributions of native frogs, salamanders, and wetland invertebrates to smaller, more ephemeral ponds where fish do not survive. Now a second “experiment” –anthropogenic climate change – threatens to push from the opposite direction; eliminating many ephemeral habitats and shortening wetland hydroperiods. Caught between climate-induced habitat loss and predation from introduced fish, native mountain lake fauna of the American West – especially amphibians– are at risk of being squeezed out. Targeted fish removals, guided by models of wetlands change, provide new strategies for restoring resilience.

Publication details
Published Date: 2014-05-01
Outlet/Publisher: Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 12:232-240
Media Format: .PDF

ARMI Organizational Units:
Pacific Northwest - Biology
Climate Change; Invasive Species; Management; Water
Place Names:
Pacific Northwest
climate; fish; hydroperiod; introduced species; management; pond-breeding amphibians; wetlands
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