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The effect of woodland proximity and wetland characteristics on larval anuran assemblages in an agricultural landscape

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Abstract:

Changes to landscapes for agricultural activities often result in reduction and fragmentation of forested habitat. Land conversion for cattle ranching in south-central Florida has resulted in increases in pasture land interspersed with remnant patches of hardwood hammock. To examine the importance of these hammocks to anurans, we sampled 78 seasonally inundated wetlands to examine the relative importance of proximity of hardwood hammock patches (>20ha) and wetland characteristics and used generalized linear models to determine which factors had a significant effect on larval anuran species richness or abundance. Species richness was significantly influenced by pH, conductivity, and water depth. Proximity to hammock did not influence species richness; however, assemblage composition differed between wetlands near hammocks and wetlands surrounded by pasture. Barking treefrogs (Hyla gratiosa LeConte, 1856), pine woods treefrogs (Hyla femoralis Bosc in Daudin, 1800), and oak toads (Bufo quercicus Holbrook, 1840) bred only in wetlands within 20, 50, and 200m of hammocks, respectively. Factors influencing tadpole abundances were species-specific. Retention of seasonally inundated wetlands proximal to large hammocks on ranchlands can provide important habitat for supporting a diverse assemblage of anurans.

Les changements paysagers causés par les activités agricoles produisent souvent une réduction et une fragmentation des habitats forestiers. La conversion des terres pour l’élevage du bétail dans le centre sud de la Floride a augmenté l’étendue des pâturages parsemés de collines de forêts résiduelles de bois durs. Afin de déterminer l’importance de ces collines pour les anoures, nous avons échantillonné 78 terres humides à inondation saisonnière, évalué l’importance relative de la proximité des taches de collines boisées (>20 ha) et déterminé les caractéristiques des terres humides; nous avons utilisé des modèles linéaires généralisés afin de déterminer quels facteurs ont un effet significatif sur la richesse spécifique et l’abondance des anoures. La richesse spécifique est affectée significativement par le pH, la conductivité et la profondeur de l’eau. La proximité des collines boisées n’influence pas la richesse spécifique; cependant la composition des peuplements dans les terres humides près des collines diffèrent de celles des terres humides entourées de pâturages. Les rainettes aboyeuses (Hyla gratiosa LeConte, 1856), les rainettes des pinèdes (Hyla femoralis Bosc in Daudin, 1800) et les crapauds des chênes (Bufo quercicus Holbrook, 1840) se reproduisent dans les terres humides, mais seulement à des distances respectives inférieures à 20, 50 et 200 m des collines boisées. Les facteurs qui influencent l’abondance des têtards varient d’une espèce à l’autre. Le maintien de terres humides à inondation saisonnière près des grandes collines boisées sur les vastes ranchs d’élevage peut procurer un habitat important pour la conservation d’un peuplement diversifié d’anoures.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2006

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  • Published since 1929, this monthly journal reports on primary research contributed by respected international scientists in the broad field of zoology, including behaviour, biochemistry and physiology, developmental biology, ecology, genetics, morphology and ultrastructure, parasitology and pathology, and systematics and evolution. It also invites experts to submit review articles on topics of current interest.
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