Spatial and temporal ecology of oak toads (Bufo quercicus) on a Florida landscape

  • Authors: Greenberg, Cathryn H.; Tanner, George W.
  • Publication Year: 2005
  • Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
  • Source: Herpetologica, Vol. 61(4): 422-434

Abstract

We used data from 10 years of continuous, concurrent monitoring of oak toads at eight isolated, ephemeral ponds in Florida longleaf pine-wiregrass uplands to address: (1): did weather variables affect movement patterns of oak toads? (2) did pond hydrology and the condition of surrounding uplands affect pond selection by adults or juvenile recruitment? (3) were population trends evident?; and (4) did a classical metapopulation model best represent their population ecology? Of 4076 oak toads captured, 92.2% were adults. Substantial (n > 30 exiting juveniles) recruitment occurred and only three times (once each at three ponds during two years). Males outnumbered females (average for all years 2.3:1). Most captures occurred during May-september. Adult captures during June-August increased with heavier rainfall but were not influenced by the durations of preceding dry periods. Movement patterns of metamorphs suggested that oak toads emigrated when moisture conditions became favorable. Pond use by adults correlated with maximum change in pond depth (May-September). Juvenile recruitment was negatively correlated with minimum pond depth and the number of weeks since a pond was last dry, and positively correlated with the maximum number of weeks a pond held water continuously. The number of breeding adults and juvenile recruitment were highest at ponds within the hardwood-invaded upland matrix. The direction of most immigrations and emigrations was nonrandom, but movement occurred from all directions, and the mean direction of pond entry and exit did not always correspond. A total of 21.1% of individuals was recaptured; 13.3% of first captures were recaptured during the same year, and 7.7% during a subsequent year. Only 1.9% of captured oak toads moved among ponds, mostly within a distance of 132 m. We did not detect adult population trends over the 10-yr studied. Presence or absence at ponds in any given year was a poor indicator of overall use. We saw little evidence of local extinction or "rescue," but were unable to determine whether juveniles returned to natal ponds or colonized new ponds within a landscape to increase the probability of recruitment within the landscape neighborhood during at least some years and at some ponds, and to increase the likelihood of interpond movement.

  • Citation: Greenberg, Cathryn H.; Tanner, George W. 2005. Spatial and temporal ecology of oak toads (Bufo quercicus) on a Florida landscape. Herpetologica, Vol. 61(4): 422-434
  • Keywords: amphibian populations, Anuran breeding, Bufo quercicus, ephemeral ponds, hydroperiod, metapopulation, oak toads, temporary wetlands, wetlands
  • Posted Date: June 29, 2006
  • Modified Date: August 25, 2006
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