Author(s): Boone MD, Semlitsch RD, Mosby C
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Abstract Managing areas designed for human recreation so that they are compatible with natural amphibian populations can reduce the negative impacts of habitat destruction. We examined the potential for amphibians to complete larval development in golf course ponds in the presence or absence of overwintered bullfrog tadpoles (Rana catesbeiana), which are frequently found in permanent, human-made ponds. We reared larval American toads (Bufo americanus), southern leopard frogs (R. sphenocephala), and spotted salamanders (Ambystoma maculatum) with 0 or 5 overwintered bullfrog tadpoles in field enclosures located in ponds on golf courses or in experimental wetlands at a reference site. Survival to metamorphosis of American toads, southern leopard frogs, and spotted salamanders was greater in ponds on golf courses than at reference sites. We attributed this increased survival to low abundance of insect predators in golf course ponds. The presence of overwintered bullfrogs, however, reduced the survival of American toads, southern leopard frogs, and spotted salamanders reared in golf course ponds, indicating that the suitability of the aquatic habitats for these species partly depended on the biotic community present. Our results suggest that ponds in human recreational areas should be managed by maintaining intermediate hydroperiods, which will reduce the presence of bullfrog tadpoles and predators, such as fish, and which may allow native amphibian assemblages to flourish.
This article was published in Conserv Biol
and referenced in International Journal of Waste Resources