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107 record(s) found.

Papers & Reports Sierra Nevada amphibians demonstrate stable occupancy despite precipitation volatility in the early 21st Century
Authors: Brian J Halstead; Patrick M Kleeman; Jonathan P Rose; Gary M Fellers
Date: 2023-02-07 | Outlet: Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution
Climate can have a strong influence on species distributions, and amphibians with different life histories might be affected by annual variability in precipitation in different ways. The Sierra Nevada of California, United States, experienced some of the driest and wettest years on record in the early 21st Century, with variability in annual precipitation predicted to increase with climate change. We  examined the relationship between adult occupancy dynamics of three high elevation anurans and site and annual variation in measures of winter severity, summer wetness, and cumulative drought. We further evaluated how these weather conditions affected the probability that each species would reproduce, conditional on their occurrence at a site. We found that although different aspects of weather affected the occupancy dynamics of each species differently, adult occupancy probabilities were generally stable throughout our 15-year study period. The probability of reproduction, although slightly more variable than adult occupancy, was similarly stable throughout the study. Although occurrence of the three species was resilient to recent extremes in precipitation, more detailed demographic study would inform the extent to which amphibian populations will remain resilient to increasing severity, duration, and frequency of drought and flood cycles.
Papers & Reports Winter severity affects occupancy of spring- and summer-breeding anurans across the eastern United States
Authors: Sara R weiskopf; Alexey N Shiklomanov; Laura Thompson; Sarah Wheedleton; Evan HC Grant
Outlet: Diversity and Distributions
Climate change is an increasingly important driver of biodiversity loss. The ectothermic nature of amphibians may make them particularly sensitive to changes in normal temperature and precipitation regimes, exacerbating global declines from other threats. In this study, we used large-scale citizen science data from the eastern half of the United States to assess how variation in winter severity influenced occupancy dynamics of 11 anuran species. We found that most species had increased occupancy in years with greater than average snow cover and warmer than average mean winter temperatures. Surprisingly, we found that climatic conditions in winter affected occupancy dynamics of both spring and summer breeding species, indicating that changing winter conditions may have consequences for anuran species with varying life history characteristics. As the climate continues to change, expected reductions in snowpack may act as an additional stressor on already declining anuran populations, while milder winters may improve overwinter survival for some species.
Papers & Reports Using physiological conditions to assess current and future habitat use of a Subarctic frog
Authors: Thomas P Hastings; Blake R Hossack; L Fishback; J M Davenport
Date: 2022 | Outlet: Integrative Zoology
Species with especially close dependence on the environment to meet physiological requirements, such as ectotherms, are highly susceptible to the impacts of climate change. Climate change is occurring rapidly in the Subarctic and Arctic, but there is limited knowledge on ectotherm physiology in these landscapes. We investigated how environmental conditions and habitat characteristics influence the physiological conditions and habitat use of wood frogs (Rana sylvatica, LeConte 1825) in a Subarctic landscape near Churchill, Manitoba (Canada). We used plaster models to estimate water loss rates and surface body temperatures among different habitat types and at specific locations used by radio-tracked frogs. Water loss (R^2 = 0.67) and surface temperature (R^2 = 0.80) of plaster models was similar to that of live frogs. Model-based water loss rates were greater in tundra habitat than in boreal forest and ecotone habitat. Habitat use of wood frogs was strongly tied with available surface moisture and decreased water loss rates that were observed with plaster models. Environmental conditions, such as wind speed and ground temperature, explained 58% and 91% of the variation in water balance and temperature of plaster models. Maintaining physiological conditions may be challenging for semi-aquatic ectotherms in environments vulnerable to future climate change. The ability to predict physiological conditions based on environmental conditions, as demonstrated in our study, can help understand how wildlife will respond to climatic changes.
Papers & Reports Range-wide Persistence of the Endangered Arroyo Toad (Anaxyrus californicus) for 20+ Years Following a Prolonged Drought
Authors: C J Hitchcock; Elizabeth A Gallegos; Adam R Backlin; Russell Barabe; Peter H Bloom; Kimberly Boss; Cheryl S Brehme; Christopher W Brown; D R Clark; Elizabeth R Clark; Kevin Cooper; Julie Donnell; Edward L Ervin; Peter Famolaro; Kim M Guilliam; Jacquelyn J Hancock; Nicholas Hess; Steven Howard; Valerie Hubbartt; Patrick Lieske; Robert E Lovich; Tritia Matsuda; Katherin Meyer-Wilkins; Kamarul Muri; Barry Nerhus; J A Nordland; Brock Ortega; Robert H Packard; Ruben Ramirez; Sam C Stewart; S Sweet; M L Warburton; Jeffrey Wells; Ryan Winkleman; Kirsten Winter; Brian Zitt; Robert N Fisher
Date: 2022-03 | Outlet: Ecology and Evolution 12:e8796
Prolonged drought due to climate change has negatively impacted amphibians in southern California, U.S.A. Due to the severity and length of the current drought,
agencies and researchers had growing concern for the persistence of the arroyo toad (Anaxyrus californicus), an endangered endemic amphibian in this region. Range-wide surveys for this species had not been conducted for at least 20 years. In 2017–2020, we conducted collaborative surveys for arroyo toads at historical locations. We surveyed 88 of the 115 total sites having historical records and confirmed that the arroyo toad is currently extant in at least 61 of 88 sites and 20 of 25 historically occupied watersheds. We did not detect toads at almost a third of the surveyed sites but did detect toads at 18 of 19 specific sites delineated in the 1999 Recovery Plan to meet one of four downlisting criteria. Arroyo toads are estimated to live 7–8 years, making populations susceptible to prolonged drought. Drought is estimated to increase in frequency and duration with climate change. Mitigation strategies for drought impacts, invasive aquatic species, altered flow regimes, and other anthropogenic effects could be the most beneficial strategies for toad conservation and may also provide simultaneous benefits to several other native species that share the same habitat.
Papers & Reports Looking ahead, guided by the past: The role of U.S. national parks in amphibian research and conservation
Authors: Brian J Halstead; Andrew M Ray; Erin L Muths; Evan HC Grant; Rob L Grasso; Michael J Adams; Katy S Delaney; Jane Carlson; Blake R Hossack
Date: 2022-03 | Outlet: Ecological Indicators
Protected areas like national parks are essential elements of conservation because they limit human influence on the landscape, which protects biodiversity and ecosystem function. The role of national parks in conservation, however, often goes far beyond limiting human influence. The U.S. National Park Service and its system of land units contribute substantively to conservation by providing protected lands where researchers can document trends in species distributions and abundances, examine characteristics important for generating these trends, and identify and implement conservation strategies to preserve biodiversity. We reviewed the contribution of U.S. national parks to amphibian research and conservation and highlight important challenges and findings in several key areas. First, U.S. national parks were instrumental in providing strong support that amphibian declines were real and unlikely to be simply a consequence of habitat loss. Second, research in U.S. national parks provided evidence against certain hypothesized causes of decline, like UV-B radiation, and evidence for others, such as introduced species and disease. However, describing declines and identifying causes contributes to conservation only if it leads to management; importantly, U.S. national parks have implemented many conservation strategies and evaluated their effectiveness in recovering robust amphibian populations. Among these, removal of invasive species, especially fishes; conservation translocations; and habitat creation and enhancement stand out as examples of successful conservation strategies with broad applicability. Successful management for amphibians is additionally complicated by competing mandates and stakeholder interests; for example, past emphasis on increasing visitor enjoyment by introducing fish to formerly fishless lakes had devastating consequences for many amphibians. Other potential conflicts with amphibian conservation include increasing development, increased risk of introductions of disease and exotic species with increased visitation, and road mortality. Decision science and leveraging partnerships have proven to be key components of effective conservation under conflicting mandates in national parks. As resource managers grapple with large-scale drivers that are outside local control, public-private partnerships and adaptive strategies are increasing in importance. U.S. national parks have played an important role in many aspects of identifying and ameliorating the amphibian decline crisis and will continue to be essential for the conservation of amphibians in the future.
Papers & Reports Identifying factors linked with persistence of reintroduced populations: lessons learned from 25 years of amphibian translocations
Authors: Blake R Hossack
Date: 2022 | Outlet: Global Ecology and Conservation
Most translocation efforts are unsuccessful, often for unknown reasons. We assessed factors linked with population persistence for 25 years of translocations of the federally threatened Chiricahua Leopard Frog. Local features were paramount, including habitat, predators, and restoration history. Timing and life stages stocked affected persistence, but rearing environment did not. Two or more translocations produced an approximate 4-yr increase in predicted population persistence.
Papers & Reports Geographic variation and thermal plasticity shape salamander metabolic rates under current and future climates
Authors: David J Muñoz; David AW Miller; R Schilder; Evan HC Grant
Outlet: Ecology and Evolution
Predicted changes in global temperature are expected to increase extinction risk for ectotherms, primarily through increased metabolic rates. Higher metabolic rates generate increased maintenance energy costs which are a major component of energy budgets. Organisms often employ plastic or evolutionary (e.g. local adaptation) mechanisms to optimize metabolic rate with respect to their environment. We examined relationships between temperature and standard metabolic rate across four populations of a widespread amphibian species to determine if populations vary in metabolic response and if their metabolic rates are plastic to seasonal thermal cues. Populations from warmer climates lowered metabolic rates when acclimating to summer temperatures as compared to spring temperatures. This may act as an energy saving mechanism during the warmest time of the year. No such plasticity was evident in populations from cooler climates. Both juvenile and adult salamanders exhibited metabolic plasticity. Although some populations responded to historic climate thermal cues, no populations showed plastic metabolic rate responses to future climate temperatures, indicating there are constraints on plastic responses. We postulate that impacts of warming will likely impact the energy budgets of salamanders, potentially affecting key demographic rates, such as individual growth and investment in reproduction.
Papers & Reports Diverse aging rates in ectotherms provide insights for the evolution of aging and longevity
Authors: Beth A Reinke; Hugo Cayuela; Fredric J Janzen; Jean-Francois Lemaitre; Jean-Michel Gaillard; Michelle A Lawing; John B Iverson; Ditte G Christiansen; Iñigo Martinez-Solano; Gregorio Sánchez-Montes; Jorge Gutiérrez-Rodríguez; Francis L Rose; Nicola Nelson; Susan Keall; Alain J Crivelli; Theodoros Nazirides; Annegret Grimm-Seyfarth; Klaus Henle; Emiliano Mori; Gaëtan Guiller; Rebecca Homan; Anthony Olivier; Erin L Muths; Blake R Hossack; Xavier Bonnet; David S Pilliod; Marieke Lettink; Tony Whitaker; Benedikt R Schmidt; Michael G Gardner; Marc Cheylan; Francoise Poitevin; Ana Golubovi?; Ljiljana Tomovic; Dragan Arsovski; Richard A Griffiths; Jan W Arntzen; Jean-Pierre Baron; Jean-Francois Le Galliard; Thomas Tully; Luca Luiselli; Massimo Capula; Lorenzo Rugiero; Rebecca M McCaffery; Lisa A Eby; Venetia Briggs-Gonzalez; Frank J Mazzotti; David Pearson; Brad A Lambert; D M Green; Nathalie Jreidini; Claudio Angelini; Graham Pyke; Jean-Marc Thirion; Pierre Joly; Jean-Paul Lena; Tony Tucker; Col Limpus; Pauline Priol; Aurélien Besnard; Pauline Bernard; Kristin Stanford; Richard King; Justin Garwood; Jaime Bosch; Franco Souza; Jaime Bertoluci; Shirley Famelli; Kurt Grossenbacher; Omar Lenzi; Kathleen Matthews; Sylvain Boitaud; Deanna H Olson; Tim Jessop; Graeme Gillespie; Jean Clobert; Murielle Richard; Andrés Valenzuela-Sánchez; Gary M Fellers; Patrick M Kleeman; Brian J Halstead; Evan HC Grant; Phillip G Byrne; Thierry Frétey; Bernard Le Garff; Pauline Levionnois; John C Maerz; Julian Pichenot; Kurtulus Olgun; Nazan Uzum; Aziz Avci; Claude Miaud; Johan Elmberg; Gregory P Brown; Richard Shine; Nathan F Bendik; Lisa O'Donnell; Courtney L Davis; Michael J Lannoo; Rochelle M Stiles; Robert M Cox; Aaron M Reedy; Daniel A Warner; Eric Bonnaire; Kristine Grayson; Roberto Ramos-Targarona; Eyup Baskale; David J Muñoz; John Measey; Andre de Villiers; Will Selman; Anne M Bronikowski; David AW Miller
Comparative studies of mortality in the wild are necessary to understand the evolution of aging, yet ectothermic tetrapods are under-represented in this comparative landscape despite their suitability for testing evolutionary hypotheses. We provide the first comprehensive study of aging rates and longevity across tetrapod ectotherms in the wild, utilizing data from 107 populations (77 species) of reptiles and amphibians. We test hypotheses of how thermoregulatory mode, temperature, protective phenotypes, and pace of life contribute to aging. Controlling for phylogeny and body size, ectotherms displayed a higher diversity of aging rates than endotherms, and included many groups with negligible aging. Furthermore, protective phenotypes and life-history tactics further explained macroevolutionary patterns of aging. By including ectothermic tetrapods, our comparative analyses enhance our understanding of aging evolution.
Papers & Reports Mapping climate-resistant vernal pools: hydrologic refugia for amphibian reproduction under droughts and climate change
Authors: Evan HC Grant; Jennifer M Cartwright; TL Morelli
Vernal pools of the northeastern United States provide important breeding habitat for amphibians but may be sensitive to droughts and climate change. These seasonal wetlands typically fill by early spring and dry by mid-to-late summer. Because climate change may produce earlier and stronger growing-season evapotranspiration combined with increasing droughts and shifts in precipitation timing, management concerns include the possibility that some pools will increasingly become dry earlier in the year, potentially interfering with amphibian life-cycle completion. In this context, a subset of pools that continue to provide wetland habitat later into the year under relatively dry conditions might function as ecohydrologic refugia, potentially supporting species persistence even as summer conditions become warmer and droughts more frequent. We used approximately 3,000 field observations of inundation from 450 pools to train machine-learning models that predict the likelihood of pool inundation based on pool size, day of the year, climate conditions, short-term weather patterns, and soil, geologic, and landcover attributes. Models were then used to generate predictions of pool wetness across five seasonal time points, three short-term weather scenarios, and four sets of downscaled climate projections. Model outputs are available through a user-friendly website allowing users to choose the inundation thresholds, time points, weather scenarios, and future climate projections most relevant to their management needs. Together with long-term monitoring of individual pools at the site scale, this regional-scale study can support amphibian conservation by helping to identify which pools may be most likely to function as ecohydrologic refugia from droughts and climate change.
Papers & Reports Thermal conditions predict intraspecific variation in senescence rate in frogs and toads
Authors: Hugo Cayuela; Rebecca M McCaffery; Thierry Frétey; Benedikt R Schmidt; Kurt Grossenbacher; Omar Lenzi; Blake R Hossack; Brad A Lambert; Johan Elmberg; J Merilä; J Gippet; David S Pilliod; Erin L Muths
Date: 2021-11 | Outlet: PNAS
Variation in temperature is known to influence mortality patterns in ectotherms. Even though a few experimental studies on model organisms have reported a positive relationship between temperature and actuarial senescence (i.e., the increase in mortality risk with age), how variation in climate influences senescence rate across the range of a species is still poorly understood in free-ranging animals. We filled this knowledge gap by investigating the relationships linking senescence rate, adult lifespan, and climatic conditions using long-term, capture-recapture data from multiple amphibian populations. We considered two pairs of related anuran species from the Ranidae (Rana luteiventris, Rana temporaria) and Bufonidae (Anaxyrus boreas, Bufo bufo) families, which diverged more than 100 mya and are broadly distributed in North America and Europe. Senescence rates were positively associated with mean annual temperature in all species. In addition, lifespan was negatively correlated with mean annual temperature in all species except A. boreas. In both R. luteiventris and A. boreas, mean annual precipitation and human environmental footprint both had negligible effects on senescence rates or lifespans. Overall, our findings demonstrate the critical influence of thermal conditions on mortality patterns across anuran species from temperate regions. In the current context of further global temperature increase predicted by IPCC scenarios, a widespread acceleration of aging in amphibians is expected to occur in the decades to come, which might threaten even more seriously the viability of populations and exacerbate global decline.
Papers & Reports The Coyote Mountains’ Desert Snail (Sonorelix harperi carrizoensis), a Lazarus Species with the First Documentation of Live Individuals
Authors: Robert N Fisher; S R Fisher
Date: 2020-08 | Outlet: Bulletin Southern California Academy of Sciences 119:49-54.
The Coyote Mountain desert snail (Sonorelix harperi carrizoensis) was described in 1937 from 30 dry shells collected the previous year. We reviewed the literature and museum records and found two additional shell collections for this subspecies from the type locality one from 1958, and one from an adjacent mountain range in 1938. There is no evidence previously of any live snails being collected from the Coyote Mountains, Imperial County, California. All shell collections of S. harperi carrizoensis have the same locality data as the type series, which is Painted Gorge, Coyote Mountains except for one recorded collection of shells from the Vallecito Mountains from 1938. Using geological maps and other data sources, a potential mesic habitat was identified in the Coyote Mountains. During recent field work for salamanders at this location we detected two live specimens of S. harperi carrizoensis approximately 2 km north of its type location. This new data confirms this subspecies is still extant and has occurred at least at two sites historically in these mountains. Despite the presence of mesic habitats (i.e., mosses, liverworts and ferns) at the type locality, we found no evidence of S. harperi carrizoensis or salamanders.
Papers & Reports Baseline Conditions and Projected Future Hydro-Climatic Change in National Parks in the Conterminous United States
Authors: William A Battaglin
Date: 2020-06-15 | Outlet: Water 2020, 12(6), 1704;
Abstract: The National Park Service (NPS) manages hundreds of parks in the United States, and many contain important aquatic ecosystems and/or threatened and endangered aquatic species vulnerable to hydro-climatic change. More effective management of park resources under future hydro-climatic uncertainty requires information on both baseline conditions and the range of projected future conditions. A monthly water balance model was used to assess baseline (1981–1999) conditions and a range of projected future hydro-climatic conditions in 374 NPS parks. General circulation model outputs representing 214 future climate simulations were used to drive the model. Projected future changes in air temperature (T), precipitation (p), and runoff (R) are expressed as departures from historical baselines. Climate simulations indicate increasing T by 2030 for all parks with 50th percentile simulations projecting increases of https://1.67 °C or more in 50% of parks. Departures in 2030 p indicate a mix of mostly increases and some decreases, with 50th percentile simulations projecting increases in p in more than 70% of parks. Departures in R for 2030 are mostly decreases, with the 50th percentile simulations projecting decreases in R in more than 50% of parks in all seasons except winter. Hence, in many NPS parks, R is projected to decrease even when p is projected to increase because of increasing T in all parks. Projected changes in future hydro-climatic conditions can also be assessed for individual parks, and Rocky Mountain National Park and Congaree National Park are used as examples.
Papers & Reports Effects of experimental warming and nutrient enrichment on wetland communities at the Arctic’s edge
Authors: J M Davenport; L Fishback; Blake R Hossack
Date: 2020-09 | Outlet: Hydrobiologia
The disproportionate effects of warming for high-latitude, freshwater ecosystems has been well documented, but in some areas, changes have been further impacted by human-subsidized increases of waterfowl. To gain insight into how predicted changes in temperature and nutrient inputs might affect ecosystem function, we conducted a mesocosm experiment in the Canadian Subarctic with three levels of simulated goose enrichment and warming to measure changes in size and survival of larval wood frogs and boreal chorus frogs and primary productivity (phytoplankton and periphyton biomass). Our results highlight that the consequences of these rapid changes are non-linear and even non-intuitive, with species-specific consumer and ecosystem responses that depend on the magnitude of temperature and nutrient changes as well as community composition.
Papers & Reports Climate’s cascading effects on disease, predation, and hatching success in Anaxyrus canorus, the threatened Yosemite toad
Authors: Walt J Sadinski; A L Gallant; J Cleaver
Date: 2020-09-01 | Outlet: Global Ecology and Conservation
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed Anaxyrus canorus, the Yosemite toad, as federally threatened in 2014 based upon reported population declines and vulnerability to global-change factors. A. canorus lives only in California’s central Sierra Nevada at medium to sub-alpine elevations. Lands throughout its range are protected from development, but climate and other global-change factors potentially can limit populations. A. canorus reproduces in ultra-shallow wetlands that typically hydrate seasonally via melting of the winter snowpack. Lesser snowpacks in drier years can render wetland water volumes and hydroperiods insufficient to allow for successful breeding and reproduction. Additionally, breeding and embryogenesis occur very soon after wetlands thaw when overnight temperatures can be below freezing. Diseases, such as chytridiomycosis, which recently decimated regional populations of ranid species, also might cause declines of A. canorus populations. However, reported studies focused on whether climate interacts with any pathogens to affect fitness in A. canorus have been scarce. We investigated effects of these factors on A. canorus near Tioga Pass from 1996 to 2001. We found breeding subpopulations were distributed widely but inconsistently among potentially suitable wetlands and frequently consisted of small numbers of adults. We occasionally observed small but not alarming numbers of dead adults at breeding sites. In contrast, embryo mortality often was notably high, with the majority of embryos dead in some egg masses while mortality among coincidental Pseudacris regilla (Pacific treefrog) embryos in deeper water was lower. After sampling and experimentation, we concluded that freezing killed A. canorus embryos, especially near the tops of egg masses, which enabled Saprolegnia diclina (a water mold [Oomycota]) to infect and then spread through egg masses and kill more embryos, often in conjunction with predatory flatworms (Turbellaria spp.). We also concluded exposure to ultraviolet-B radiation did not play a role. Based upon our assessments of daily minimum temperatures recorded around snow-off during years before and after our field study, the freezing potential we observed at field sites during embryogenesis might have been commonplace beyond the years of our field study. However, interactions among snow quantity, the timing of snow-off, and coincidental air temperatures that determine such freezing potential make projections of future conditions highly uncertain, despite overall warming trends. Our results describe important effects from ongoing threats to the fitness and abundance of A. canorus via reduced reproduction success and demonstrate how climate conditions can exacerbate effects from pathogens to threaten the persistence of amphibian populations.
Papers & Reports Changes in capture rates and body size among vertebrate species occupying an insular urban habitat reserve
Authors: T R Stanley; R W Clark; Robert N Fisher; Carlton J Rochester; S A Root; K J Lombardo; S D Ostermann-Kelm
Date: 2020-06-29 | Outlet: Conservation Science and Practice 2020;e245.
Long-term ecological monitoring provides valuable and objective scientific information to inform management and decision making. In this paper we analyze 22 years of herpetofauna monitoring data from the Point Loma Ecological Conservation Area (PLECA), an insular urban reserve near San Diego, California. Our analysis showed that counts of individuals for one of the four most common terrestrial vertebrates declined, whereas counts for other common species increased or remained stable. Two species exhibited declines in adult body length, whereas biomass pooled over the five most common species increased over time and was associated with higher wet season precipitation. Although the habitat and vegetation at PLECA have remained protected and intact, we suspect that changes in arthropod communities may be driving changes in the abundance, growth, and development of insectivorous lizards. This study underscores the value of long-term monitoring for establishing quantitative baselines to assess biological changes that would otherwise go undetected.
Papers & Reports A Synthesis of Evidence of Drivers of Amphibian Decline
Authors: Evan HC Grant; David AW Miller; Erin L Muths
Outlet: Herpetologica
ABSTRACT:—Early calls for robust long-term time series of amphibian population data are now being realized after 25 years of focused research. Inference from individual studies and locations have contributed to a basic consensus on drivers of these declines. Until recently there were no large-scale syntheses of long-term time series to test hypotheses about the generality of factors driving population dynamics at broad spatial scales. Through the U.S. Geological Survey Powell Center for Analysis and Synthesis, we brought together a group of scientists to elucidate mechanisms underlying amphibian declines in North America and Europe. We used time series of field data collected across dozens of study areas to make inferences with these combined data using hierarchical and spatial models. We bring together results from four syntheses of these data to summarize our state of knowledge of amphibian declines, identify commonalities among the results that suggest further avenues of study, and suggest a way forward in addressing amphibian declines – by looking beyond specific drivers to how to achieve stability in remaining populations. The common thread of these syntheses is that declines are real but not ubiquitous, and that multiple factors drive declines but the relative importance of each factor varies among species, populations and regions. We also found that climate is an important driver of amphibian population dynamics. However, the sensitivity to change varies among species in ways unlikely to explain overall rates of decline. Thirty years after the initial identification of a major catastrophe for global biodiversity, the scientific community has empirically demonstrated the reality of the problem, identified putative causes, provided evidence of their impacts, invested in broader scale actions, and attempted meta-analyses to search out global drivers. We suggest an approach that focuses on key demographic rates that may improve amphibian population trends at multiple sites across the landscape.
Papers & Reports Effects of Snowpack, Temperature, and Disease on Demography in a Wild Population of Amphibians
Authors: Erin L Muths; Blake R Hossack; Evan HC Grant; David S Pilliod; Brittany A Mosher
Date: 2020-06 | Outlet: Herpetologica
Understanding the demographic consequences of interactions among pathogens, hosts, and weather conditions is critical in determining how amphibian populations respond to disease and in identifying site-specific conservation actions that can be developed to bolster persistence of amphibian populations. We investigated population dynamics in Boreal Toads relative to abiotic (fall temperatures and snowpack) and biotic (the abundance of another anuran host and disease) characteristics of the local environment in Wyoming, USA. We used capture-recapture data and a multi-state model where state is treated as a hidden Markov process to incorporate disease state uncertainty and assess our a priori hypotheses. Our results indicate that snowpack during the coldest week of the winter is more influential to toad survival, disease transition probabilities, and the population-level prevalence of the amphibian chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) in the spring, than temperatures in the fall or the presence of another host. As hypothesized, apparent survival at low (i.e., <25 cm) snowpack (https://0.22 [CI: 0.15–0.31]) was lower than apparent survival at high snowpack (https://90.65 [CI: 0.50–0.78]). Our findings highlight the potential for local environmental factors, like snowpack, to influence disease and host persistence, and demonstrate the ecological complexity of disease effects on population demography in natural environments. This work further emphasizes the need for improved understanding of how climate change may influence the relationships among pathogens, hosts, and their environment for wild animal populations challenged by disease.
Papers & Reports Amphibian responses in the aftermath of extreme climate events
Authors: Gary Bucciarelli; M Clark; Katy S Delaney; Seth PD Riley; H Shaffer; Robert N Fisher; R L Honeycutt; Lee B Kats
Date: 2020-02-25 | Outlet: Scientific Reports 10:3409
Climate change-induced extinctions are estimated to eliminate one in six known species by the end
of the century. One major factor that will contribute to these extinctions is extreme climatic events.
Here, we show the ecological impacts of recent record warm air temperatures and simultaneous peak
drought conditions in California. From 2008–2016, the southern populations of a wide-ranging endemic
amphibian (the California newt, Taricha torosa) showed a 20% reduction to mean body condition and
significant losses to variation in body condition linked with extreme climate deviations. However,
body condition in northern populations remained relatively unaffected during this period. Range-wide
population estimates of change to body condition under future climate change scenarios within the
next 50 years suggest that northern populations will mirror the loss of body condition recently observed
in southern populations. This change is predicated on latter 21st century climate deviations that
resemble recent conditions in Southern California. Thus, the ecological consequences of climate change
have already occurred across the warmer, drier regions of Southern California, and our results suggest
that predicted climate vulnerable regions in the more mesic northern range likely will not provide
climate refuge for numerous amphibian communities.
Papers & Reports A three-pipe problem: dealing with complexity to halt amphibian declines
Authors: S J Converse; Evan HC Grant
Outlet: Biological Conservation
Natural resource managers are increasingly faced with threats to managed ecosystems that are largely outside of their control. Examples include land development, climate change, invasive species, and emerging infectious diseases. All of these are characterized by large uncertainties in timing, magnitude, and effects on species. In many cases, the conservation of species will only be possible through concerted action on the limited elements of the system that managers can control. However, before an action is taken, a manager must decide how to act, which is ? if done well ? not easy. In addition to dealing with uncertainty, managers must balance multiple potentially competing objectives, often in cases when the management actions available to them are limited. Guidance in making these types of challenging decisions can be found in the practice known as decision analysis. We demonstrate how using a decision-analytic approach to frame decisions can help identify and address impediments to improved conservation decision making. We demonstrate the application of decision analysis to two high-elevation amphibian species. An inadequate focus on the decision-making process, and an assumption that scientific information is adequate to solve conservation problems, must be overcome to advance the conservation of amphibians and other highly threatened taxa.
Papers & Reports Effects of experimental warming and simulated goose enrichment on wetland communities at the Arctic?s edge
Authors: J M Davenport; L Fishback; Blake R Hossack
Date: 2020 | Outlet: Hydrobiologia (2020) 847:3677–3690
Global warming-related changes to freshwater
ecosystems in Arctic and Subarctic regions have
been magnified by nutrient input from increasing
waterfowl populations. To gain insight into how these
changes might affect ecosystem function, we conducted
a mesocosm experiment in the Subarctic by
enriching N and P (1 9, 10 9, and 20 9 treatments)
and increasing mean water temperatures B 3C. We
measured responses of two species of larval amphibians,
periphyton, and phytoplankton. Wood frog
(Rana sylvatica) larvae developed quicker (odds ratio
[OR] for 1C increase = https://0.903, 95% CI 0.892–0.912)
and were more likely to metamorphose (OR https://1.076,
95% CI 0.022–14.73) in warmer waters. Boreal chorus
frogs (Pseudacris maculata) also developed quicker
with warmer temperatures (OR https://0.880, 95% CI
0.860–0.900), despite a non-significant trend toward
reduced survival (OR https://0.853, 95% CI 0.696–1.039).
Periphyton and phytoplankton concentrations
increased with nutrient additions, as did size of wood
frog metamorphs. Periphyton and phytoplankton did
not vary with temperature, but periphyton was limited
by tadpole abundance. Our results highlight the
potential for non-linear responses to ecosystem
change, with species-specific consumer and ecosystem
responses that depend on the magnitude of