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The relationships between habitat suitability, population size and body condition in a pond-breeding amphibian


Unglaub, Bianca; Steinfartz, Sebastian; Kühne, Daniela; Haas, Alexander; Schmidt, Benedikt R (2018). The relationships between habitat suitability, population size and body condition in a pond-breeding amphibian. Basic and Applied Ecology, 27:20-29.

Abstract

The ecological niche of a species determines whether a species can persist and reproduce in a patch or not. The niche of a species is often described using habitat suitability models and indices. Accordingly, one may expect tight links between demography, phenotypes of individuals, population size, and habitat suitability. However, such links are not always found. Here, we study the relationship between a habitat suitability index that is commonly used for conservation assessments and metrics describing the performance at the level of populations and individuals. Using data from a metapopulation of a pond-breeding amphibian, the Great Crested Newt (Triturus cristatus), we show that habitat suitability predicts population size but not body condition. Ponds with higher suitability had a higher population size of newts, whereas population size correlated negatively with body condition of individuals. Our results are in line with previous studies showing no straightforward relationship between habitat suitability and body condition (a measure of individual performance) and the performance of populations. We suggest that a population size-dependent reduction of body condition may be a regulatory mechanism in newt populations.

Abstract

The ecological niche of a species determines whether a species can persist and reproduce in a patch or not. The niche of a species is often described using habitat suitability models and indices. Accordingly, one may expect tight links between demography, phenotypes of individuals, population size, and habitat suitability. However, such links are not always found. Here, we study the relationship between a habitat suitability index that is commonly used for conservation assessments and metrics describing the performance at the level of populations and individuals. Using data from a metapopulation of a pond-breeding amphibian, the Great Crested Newt (Triturus cristatus), we show that habitat suitability predicts population size but not body condition. Ponds with higher suitability had a higher population size of newts, whereas population size correlated negatively with body condition of individuals. Our results are in line with previous studies showing no straightforward relationship between habitat suitability and body condition (a measure of individual performance) and the performance of populations. We suggest that a population size-dependent reduction of body condition may be a regulatory mechanism in newt populations.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Uncontrolled Keywords:amphibian, Triturus cristatus, newt, habitat suitability, demography, abundance, body condition
Language:English
Date:2018
Deposited On:05 Apr 2018 12:19
Last Modified:13 Apr 2018 11:54
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:1439-1791
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.baae.2018.01.002

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