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Building pondscapes for amphibian metapopulations


Moor, Helen; Bergamini, Ariel; Vorburger, Christoph; Holderegger, Rolf; Bühler, Christoph; Bircher, Nicolas; Schmidt, Benedikt R (2024). Building pondscapes for amphibian metapopulations. Conservation Biology:Epub ahead of print.

Abstract

The success of ponds constructed to restore ecological infrastructure for pond‐breeding amphibians and benefit aquatic biodiversity depends on where and how they are built. We studied effects of pond and landscape characteristics, including connectivity, on metapopulation dynamics of 12 amphibian species in Switzerland. To understand the determinants of long‐term occupancy (here summarized as incidence), environmental effects on both colonization and persistence should be considered. We fitted dynamic occupancy models to 20 years of monitoring data on a pond construction program to quantify effects of pond and landscape characteristics and different connectivity metrics on colonization and persistence probabilities in constructed ponds. Connectivity to existing populations explained dynamics better than structural connectivity metrics, and simple metrics (distance to the nearest neighbor population, population density) were useful surrogates for dispersal kernel‐weighted metrics commonly used in metapopulation theory. Population connectivity mediated the persistence of conservation target species in new ponds, suggesting source–sink dynamics in newly established populations. Population density captured this effect well and could be used by practitioners for site selection. Ponds created where there were 2–4 occupied ponds within a radius of ∼0.5 km had >3.5 times higher incidence of target species (median) than isolated ponds. Species had individual preferences regarding pond characteristics, but breeding sites with larger (≥100 m$^{2}$) total water surface area, that temporarily dried, and that were in surroundings with maximally 50% forest benefitted multiple target species. Pond diversity will foster amphibian diversity at the landscape scale.

Abstract

The success of ponds constructed to restore ecological infrastructure for pond‐breeding amphibians and benefit aquatic biodiversity depends on where and how they are built. We studied effects of pond and landscape characteristics, including connectivity, on metapopulation dynamics of 12 amphibian species in Switzerland. To understand the determinants of long‐term occupancy (here summarized as incidence), environmental effects on both colonization and persistence should be considered. We fitted dynamic occupancy models to 20 years of monitoring data on a pond construction program to quantify effects of pond and landscape characteristics and different connectivity metrics on colonization and persistence probabilities in constructed ponds. Connectivity to existing populations explained dynamics better than structural connectivity metrics, and simple metrics (distance to the nearest neighbor population, population density) were useful surrogates for dispersal kernel‐weighted metrics commonly used in metapopulation theory. Population connectivity mediated the persistence of conservation target species in new ponds, suggesting source–sink dynamics in newly established populations. Population density captured this effect well and could be used by practitioners for site selection. Ponds created where there were 2–4 occupied ponds within a radius of ∼0.5 km had >3.5 times higher incidence of target species (median) than isolated ponds. Species had individual preferences regarding pond characteristics, but breeding sites with larger (≥100 m$^{2}$) total water surface area, that temporarily dried, and that were in surroundings with maximally 50% forest benefitted multiple target species. Pond diversity will foster amphibian diversity at the landscape scale.

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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)
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Physical Sciences > Ecology
Physical Sciences > Nature and Landscape Conservation
Language:English
Date:7 May 2024
Deposited On:23 May 2024 16:50
Last Modified:30 Jun 2024 01:41
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:0888-8892
OA Status:Hybrid
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/cobi.14281
PubMed ID:38711380
Project Information:
  • : FunderBoard of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology
  • : Grant ID
  • : Project Title
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0)