The British Herpetological Society

The Herpetological Journal is the Society's prestigious quarterly scientific journal. Articles are listed in Biological Abstracts, Current Awareness in Biological Sciences,Current Contents, Science Citation Index, and Zoological Record.

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pdf 05.Environmental determinants and temporal variation of amphibian habitat use in a temperate floodplain

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pp. 161-171

Authors: Daniela D.C. Dick, Carsten F. Dormann & Klaus Henle

Abstract: The conservation of amphibians is of increasing relevance due to their ongoing and rapid decline. Alterations of floodplains are a major contributor to these declines in temperate Europe. In this study, we assessed the factors determining the abundance of four anuran species (Rana arvalis, Pelobates fuscus, Bombina bombina and Hyla arborea) in a dynamic floodplain in
Central Europe during two hydrologically markedly differing years. We identified species responses to habitat characteristics using zero-inflated models. Only pond surface area explained the abundances of all species investigated in both years. Pond hydroperiod was the second most informative variable, determining site selection of all species except R. arvalis in both years independent from inter-annual landscape variability. Temporal variability in habitat use was determined by water chemistry and morphology of ponds in the year with frequent floods, whereas aspects of vegetation were more important in the year with the lower water level. Our results underline the importance of accounting for temporal variability of habitat use as facilitated by habitat heterogeneity in conservation planning.

Keywords: amphibians, flood plains, habitat models, landscape dynamics, temporal variability, zero-inflated models

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