Limited influence of stream networks on the terrestrial movements of three wetland-dependent frog species

Westgate, Martin J, Driscoll, Don A and Lindenmayer, David B 2012, Limited influence of stream networks on the terrestrial movements of three wetland-dependent frog species, Biological conservation, vol. 153, pp. 169-176, doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2012.04.030.

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Title Limited influence of stream networks on the terrestrial movements of three wetland-dependent frog species
Author(s) Westgate, Martin J
Driscoll, Don AORCID iD for Driscoll, Don A
Lindenmayer, David B
Journal name Biological conservation
Volume number 153
Start page 169
End page 176
Total pages 8
Publisher Elsevier
Place of publication Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Publication date 2012-09
ISSN 0006-3207
Keyword(s) Amphibian
Hydrological networks
Summary Quantifying functional connectivity is essential for understanding factors that limit or promote animal dispersal in fragmented landscapes. Topography is a major factor influencing the movement behavior of many animal species, and therefore the extent of functional connectivity between habitat patches. For pond-breeding frogs, areas of low topographic relief (such as streams or drainage lines) offer damp microhabitats that can facilitate movement through otherwise dry landscapes. However, the extent of topographic bias of frog movements has rarely been quantified. We used a replicated study to compare captures in high- and low-relief transects, for three species from a pond-breeding frog community in southeastern Australia. We captured frogs significantly more often on low-relief transects. However, capture rates decreased with increasing distance from water at similar rates on both high-relief and low-relief transects, and we observed few differences between adult and juvenile movements. Our results suggest that although low-relief drainage lines are important for the pond-breeding frogs in question, ecologists and landscape managers should not discount the role of high-relief locations. Because low-relief drainage lines represent a low proportion of the pond margin, >90% of movements are likely to occur across high-relief locations. Therefore, for the species that we studied, buffer zones designed to conserve only hydrological networks would provide insufficient protection of frequently used pond margins, while drainage lines are unlikely to act as vital networks facilitating connectivity between breeding ponds. Our study suggests that movement across slopes may be most important for facilitating functional connectivity.
Language eng
DOI 10.1016/j.biocon.2012.04.030
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 Ltd
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