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Stocked trout do not significantly affect wood frog populations in boreal foothills lakes

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Stocking salmonids into lakes can have negative consequences for some ecosystem components, including amphibians. In the boreal foothills of Alberta, Canada, we compared populations of wood frog (Lithobates sylvaticus) at lakes with (n = 5) and without (n = 6) stocked trout over 3 years; all 11 lakes also supported native populations of forage fishes. Abundance and size of adult and young-of-year (YOY) frogs did not differ significantly between stocked and unstocked lakes. We also compared the wood frog population from a twelfth, fishless lake with populations from the 11 fish-bearing lakes (with or without trout); abundance and size of adults and YOY were greater, and YOY emerged earlier in the absence of fish. Based on patterns compiled from a literature review of effects of stocked trout on anuran amphibians, we suggest that characteristics of our study systems, including the presence of native fish, the length of the anuran larval period, lake trophic status, and the existence of complex, littoral habitats, contributed to the lack of major impacts of stocked trout on wood frog populations.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 2E9, Canada. 2: Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 2E9, Canada; Parks Canada Agency, Western and Northern Service Centre, #1550, 635-8 Avenue S.W., Calgary, AB T2P 3M3, Canada.

Publication date: October 19, 2011

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  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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