Post-fire succession affects abundance and survival but not detectability in a knob-tailed gecko

Smith, Annabel L, Bull, C Michael and Driscoll, Don 2012, Post-fire succession affects abundance and survival but not detectability in a knob-tailed gecko, Biological conservation, vol. 145, no. 1, pp. 139-147, doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2011.10.023.

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Title Post-fire succession affects abundance and survival but not detectability in a knob-tailed gecko
Author(s) Smith, Annabel L
Bull, C Michael
Driscoll, DonORCID iD for Driscoll, Don
Journal name Biological conservation
Volume number 145
Issue number 1
Start page 139
End page 147
Total pages 9
Publisher Elsevier
Place of publication Amsterdam ,The Netherlands
Publication date 2012-01-01
ISSN 0006-3207
Keyword(s) Animal demography
Fire regime
Robust design
Summary Altered fire regimes threaten the persistence of many animal species globally, thus understanding how fire affects demographic processes is critical for conservation. Using 2. years of mark-recapture data from the Australian gecko Nephrurus stellatus, we investigated the effect of fire on (i) detectability to reliably measure post-fire changes in abundance, and (ii) survival and reproductive rates to investigate the mechanisms of successional change. Data were collected from two conservation reserves each with three different fire categories based on time since the last fire "Early", "medium" and "late" sites had 2-3, 7-9 and 42-48. years since fire, respectively. A robust design modelling framework was used to estimate the effect of fire category on abundance, survival and capture probability while also examining the influence of temperature and behaviour on detectability. Geckos showed trap-shy behaviour and detectability increased significantly with increasing temperature but was not affected by time since fire. Accounting for detectability, geckos were more abundant in the medium than the early sites, and were rare in the late sites. Although trends in survival are more difficult to address with short-term data, our results showed lower monthly survival rates, but higher fecundity in the early than the medium sites. These results were possibly related to successional changes in predation, the thermal environment, and food availability. We demonstrated how mark-recapture analysis can show the causes of animal fire responses while realistically accounting for detectability. Such information is necessary to provide a predictive framework to guide fire management for biodiversity. .
Language eng
DOI 10.1016/j.biocon.2011.10.023
Field of Research 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity
Socio Economic Objective 970105 Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2012, Elsevier
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