SREL Reprint #1966

 

 

 

 

Impacts of hydroperiod on growth and survival of larval amphibians in temporary ponds of Central Pennsylvania, USA

Christopher L. Rowe - William A. Dunson

Abstract The effects of variable hydroperiod (three levels) and initial density of amphibians (two levels) on survival, growth rate, and time to and mass at metamorphosis were studied for wood frogs (Rana sylvatica), Jefferson salamanders (Ambystoma jeffersonianum), and spotted salamanders (A. maculatum). Experiments were carried out in 260-1 mesocosms set up outdoors in a forest. These pond simulations were designed to mimic conditions that occur in palustrine temporary wetlands in central Pennsylvania. No animals reached metamorphosis in the short hydroperiod (56 days). However a greater proportion (66%) of tadpoles of R. sylvatica survived to the end of the 56-day treatment than the 84- or 158-day treatments (29 and 14%, respectively), from which all survivors metamorphosed. In contrast, neither of the salamanders metamorphosed by 84 days; survival to metamorphosis at 158 days was 15% for A. jeffersonianum and 10% for A. maculatum. Average instantaneous growth rates for A. jeffersonianum decreased with each increase in hydroperiod. Growth of R. sylvatica was greater in the 56-day hydroperiod than in hydroperiods of 84 or 158 days. Initial amphibian density had no effect on growth or survival of any species. It appears that salamander larvae were predatory on tadpoles, since survival of R. sylvatica was negatively correlated with survival of A. jeffersonianum in 84-day treatments and with growth of A. maculatum in 158-day treatments.

Key words Ambystoma - Mesocosms - Predation Rana - Wetlands

 

SREL Reprint #1966

Rowe, C.L. and W.A. Dunson. 1995. Impacts of hydroperiod on growth and survival of larval amphibians in temporary ponds of Central Pennsylvania, USA. Oecologia 102:397-403.

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