US-IALE 2018 has ended

Monday, April 9 • 5:30pm - 7:00pm
POSTER: Local and Landscape-Scale Predictors of Egg-Mass Abundance in Wood Frogs and Spotted Salamanders in Southeastern Massachusetts

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AUTHORS: Amanda Deguire*, Thilina Surasinghe, Emily Donahue, Jackie Toomey, Sarah Jones – Bridgewater State University

ABSTRACT: Given their ephemeral nature and small size, vernal pools are unique habitats that are critical for temperate amphibians with a biphasic life cycle. Both local and landscape-scale predictors of amphibian occupancy at vernal pools have been extensively studied, and these species responses can vary significantly across geographies. In this study, we explored effects of land-cover change at variable spatial scales on the egg-mass abundance of two widespread North American amphibians— wood frogs and spotted salamanders. We surveyed egg masses at eight vernal pools located in southeastern Massachusetts in March-April period (2016-2017), and estimated several local (canopy cover, pool width, and upland basal area) and landscape scale (percent forested and built-up land-cover types around 100m, 500m and 1km radius around the vernal pool) environmental variables. Although egg-mass abundance of both focal species was greater in vernal pools located in rural landscapes than those of urban landscapes (wood frogs: urban=15.17, rural=30.27; spotted salamanders: urban=8.17, rural=43.81), those differences were statistically insignificant for wood frogs whereas a significantly greater number of spotted-salamander egg masses were found in rural vernal pools. Multivariate statistical analyses indicated that the percent forest cover around a 500m-buffer is a significant predictor of species composition of egg masses. A multiple stepwise generalized linear model indicated that canopy cover, pool width, forest cover at all spatial scales, and built-up land-cover at 1km radius being important predictors for egg-mass abundance of spotted salamanders. The same modeling approach showed that canopy cover, pool width, and both built-up and forest land-cover at all spatial scales being important predictors for egg-mass abundance of wood frogs. Our study shows the importance of both urban and forested vernal pools for amphibian breeding. Regional municipalities should retool their biodiversity conservation efforts where vernal pools are protected at landscape-scale as interconnected wetland-woodland habitat complexes.

Monday April 9, 2018 5:30pm - 7:00pm
Monroe Room

Attendees (2)