Special Issue "Amphibian Ecology in Geographically Isolated Wetlands"

A special issue of Diversity (ISSN 1424-2818). This special issue belongs to the section "Animal Diversity".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 July 2022 | Viewed by 3756

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Stacey Lance
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. The Savannah River Ecology Laboratory (SREL), University of Georgia, Aiken, SC 29808, USA
2. Odum School of Ecology, University of Georgia Athens, Athens, GA 30602, USA
Interests: amphibian ecology; conservation ecology; molecular ecology; ecotoxicology
Mr. David E. Scott
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
The Savannah River Ecology Laboratory (SREL), University of Georgia, Aiken, SC 29808, USA
Interests: amphibian ecology; isolated wetlands; ambystomatid salamanders; long-term studies; population dynamics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues, 

Although there might be some disagreement regarding what to name the habitat itself, there is no doubt that geographically isolated wetlands (GIW) are essential habitats for numerous amphibian species worldwide. Because many pond-breeding amphibian species have limited capacities to persist in aquatic systems with fish, fish-free wetlands—which many GIW are—often harbor more (and different) species than typical pond or lake ecosystems. Our interest in this Special Issue of Diversity is in how these unique habitats—i.e., GIW—affect and select for the ecology of pond-breeding amphibian species. For example, at the landscape level, we think that GIW diversity, in terms of size, scale, and/or hydroperiod, promotes species diversity. Species differ in their responses to biotic (e.g., predation pressure, density, pathogens) and abiotic (e.g., hydroperiod, contaminants, water chemistry) stressors. Thus, the unique aspects of GIW environments and their biotic and abiotic factors likely influence species’ morphologies, life histories, and evolutionary trajectories. The GIW environments influence not only single-species ecology, but also community-level interactions and ecosystem-level processes, such as nutrient flux. At a metapopulation level, the distribution of GIW on the landscape certainly affects single-species and community-level persistence by influencing local extinction and recolonization rates. All aspects of the interplay between amphibian ecology and GIW are encouraged as submissions for this Special Issue.

Dr. Stacey Lance
Mr. David E. Scott
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Amphibian
  • Geographically isolated wetlands (GIW)
  • Pond-breeding amphibian species
  • Community-level interactions
  • Ecosystem-level processes
  • Nutrient flux
  • Metapopulation

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Article
Comparing Genetic and Field-Based Estimates of Population Connectivity in Marbled Salamanders, Ambystoma opacum
Diversity 2022, 14(7), 524; https://doi.org/10.3390/d14070524 - 29 Jun 2022
Viewed by 121
Abstract
Estimating connectivity is key for maintaining population viability for pond-breeding amphibians, especially in areas where habitat alterations occur. Here, we used genetic data (microsatellites) to estimate connectivity of marbled salamanders, Ambystoma opacum, among three focal ponds and compared it to field data [...] Read more.
Estimating connectivity is key for maintaining population viability for pond-breeding amphibians, especially in areas where habitat alterations occur. Here, we used genetic data (microsatellites) to estimate connectivity of marbled salamanders, Ambystoma opacum, among three focal ponds and compared it to field data (capture-mark-recapture estimates) of movement among the same ponds. In addition, we derived least-cost dispersal paths from genetic data and compared them to field connectivity estimates. We found that genetic and field estimates of dispersal were generally congruent, but field-based paths were more complex than genetic-based paths. While both methods complement each other in identifying important source-sink metapopulation dynamics to inform efficient conservation management plans, field data provide a more biologically accurate understanding of the spatial movement of individual marbled salamanders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Amphibian Ecology in Geographically Isolated Wetlands)
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Article
Salamander Demography at Isolated Wetlands within Mature and Regenerating Forests
Diversity 2022, 14(5), 309; https://doi.org/10.3390/d14050309 - 19 Apr 2022
Viewed by 481
Abstract
Geographically isolated wetland and surrounding landscape features affect the ecology and life history of amphibian species. We used multistate mark recapture methods and data from over 30,000 captures of adult Ambystoma opacum to explore how survival, breeding, and movement probabilities differed among wetlands [...] Read more.
Geographically isolated wetland and surrounding landscape features affect the ecology and life history of amphibian species. We used multistate mark recapture methods and data from over 30,000 captures of adult Ambystoma opacum to explore how survival, breeding, and movement probabilities differed among wetlands surrounded by regenerating 20-year-old clearcuts and mature 100-year-old forest stands. Survival varied among ponds and years but did not differ between regenerating and mature forest habitats. Both sexes at all ponds incurred dramatic mortality during the non-breeding season of a drought year (2001–2002). Females that skipped one or more breeding opportunities had higher breeding probabilities the following year than did successive breeders. Females exiting into regenerating forests had lower breeding probabilities at two of the three ponds. Breeding salamanders tended to make local movements from regenerating to mature forests, particularly when exiting the pond basin. Landscape movements between ponds were generally low, with few individuals moving from mature to regenerating forest habitats. We conclude that clearcuts continue to negatively impact some demographic parameters of salamanders 20 years post-cutting, but other environmental factors may mitigate these effects, and that populations are probably capable of complete recovery, particularly if some mature forest is retained. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Amphibian Ecology in Geographically Isolated Wetlands)
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Article
Amphibian Biomass Export from Geographically Isolated Wetlands: Temporal Variability, Species Composition, and Potential Implications for Terrestrial Ecosystems
Diversity 2022, 14(3), 163; https://doi.org/10.3390/d14030163 - 25 Feb 2022
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Abstract
Recently metamorphosed amphibians transport substantial biomass and nutrients from wetlands to terrestrial ecosystems. Previous estimates (except 1) were limited to either a subset of the community or a single year. Our goal was to examine temporal variability in biomass export of all amphibians [...] Read more.
Recently metamorphosed amphibians transport substantial biomass and nutrients from wetlands to terrestrial ecosystems. Previous estimates (except 1) were limited to either a subset of the community or a single year. Our goal was to examine temporal variability in biomass export of all amphibians within breeding ponds and the composition of that export. We completely encircled ponds with drift fences to capture, count, and weigh emerging recently metamorphosed individuals in Maine (four wetlands, six years) and Missouri (eight wetlands, 2–4 years). We estimated total amphibian biomass export, export scaled by pond surface area, species diversity, and percentage of biomass from anurans. Biomass export and export composition varied greatly among ponds and years. Our estimates were of similar magnitude to previous studies. Amphibian biomass export was higher when species diversity was low and the proportion of anurans was higher. Biomass estimates tended to be highest for juvenile cohorts dominated by a single ranid species: green frogs (Missouri) or wood frogs (Maine). Ranid frogs made up a substantial proportion of amphibian biomass export, suggesting that terrestrial impacts will likely occur in the leaf litter of forests. Future studies should examine the impacts of ranid juveniles on terrestrial ecosystem dynamics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Amphibian Ecology in Geographically Isolated Wetlands)
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Article
Recruitment Patterns and Potential Climate Change Impacts on Three Florida Hylids with Different Life Histories
Diversity 2022, 14(2), 129; https://doi.org/10.3390/d14020129 - 10 Feb 2022
Viewed by 752
Abstract
Altered weather patterns associated with climate change are likely to adversely affect amphibian recruitment, especially for species dependent on ephemeral, geographically isolated wetlands for breeding. Future changes in temperature and rainfall patterns could affect hydroregimes (periodicity, depth, duration, and timing of water in [...] Read more.
Altered weather patterns associated with climate change are likely to adversely affect amphibian recruitment, especially for species dependent on ephemeral, geographically isolated wetlands for breeding. Future changes in temperature and rainfall patterns could affect hydroregimes (periodicity, depth, duration, and timing of water in wetlands) or adult breeding effort. We used 24 years of continuous amphibian trapping, weather, and hydroregime data to identify breeding-to-metamorphosis periods (BMPs) and environmental factors affecting annual recruitment by three hylid species at eight isolated ephemeral limesink ponds in Florida longleaf-wiregrass sandhills. We used standardized climate metrics (Bioclim variables) to predict future precipitation, temperature and hydroregime variables, then used them to predict future recruitment in 2050 and 2070 under two emissions scenarios. We hypothesized that Hyla gratiosa would be more sensitive to short-term pond drying than H. femoralis or H. squirella due to its lower abundance and more specific habitat requirements. Hyla gratiosa recruitment was not explained by adult breeding effort and was more dependent on higher water levels during BMPs than for H. femoralis or H. squirella, independent of rainfall. In contrast, H. femoralis and H. squirella recruitment depended heavily on rainfall independent of pond depth and was positively associated with adult breeding effort. Models predicted moderate decreases in H. gratiosa and H. squirella recruitment by 2050 but projections were highly uncertain for all three species by 2070. Our findings highlight the importance of maintaining wetlands with diverse hydroregimes to accommodate species with different BMPs and hydroregime requirements. Proactive monitoring and conservation measures such as headstarting and creating artificial ponds may be necessary for these and other amphibian species that may suffer reduced recruitment under future climate change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Amphibian Ecology in Geographically Isolated Wetlands)
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Article
Long-Term Patterns of Amphibian Diversity, Abundance and Nutrient Export from Small, Isolated Wetlands
Diversity 2021, 13(11), 598; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13110598 - 20 Nov 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 552
Abstract
Seasonally inundated wetlands contribute to biodiversity support and ecosystem function at the landscape scale. These temporally dynamic ecosystems contain unique assemblages of animals adapted to cyclically wet–dry habitats. As a result of the high variation in environmental conditions, wetlands serve as hotspots for [...] Read more.
Seasonally inundated wetlands contribute to biodiversity support and ecosystem function at the landscape scale. These temporally dynamic ecosystems contain unique assemblages of animals adapted to cyclically wet–dry habitats. As a result of the high variation in environmental conditions, wetlands serve as hotspots for animal movement and potentially hotspots of biogeochemical activity and migratory transport of nutrient subsidies. Most amphibians are semi-aquatic and migrate between isolated wetlands and the surrounding terrestrial system to complete their life cycle, with rainfall and other environmental factors affecting the timing and magnitude of wetland export of juveniles. Here we used a long-term drift fence study coupled with system-specific nutrient content data of amphibians from two small wetlands in southeastern Georgia, USA. We couple environmental data with count data of juveniles exiting wetlands to explore the controls of amphibian diversity, production and export and the amphibian life-history traits associated with export over varying environmental conditions. Our results highlight the high degree of spatial and temporal variability in amphibian flux with hydroperiod length and temperature driving community composition and overall biomass and nutrient fluxes. Additionally, specific life-history traits, such as development time and body size, were associated with longer hydroperiods. Our findings underscore the key role of small, isolated wetlands and their hydroperiod characteristics in maintaining amphibian productivity and community dynamics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Amphibian Ecology in Geographically Isolated Wetlands)
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