, Volume 149, Issue 1, pp 65-71
Date: 24 May 2006

Density, climate and varying return points: an analysis of long-term population fluctuations in the threatened European tree frog

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Experimental research has identified many putative agents of amphibian decline, yet the population-level consequences of these agents remain unknown, owing to lack of information on compensatory density dependence in natural populations. Here, we investigate the relative importance of intrinsic (density-dependent) and extrinsic (climatic) factors impacting the dynamics of a tree frog (Hyla arborea) population over 22 years. A combination of log-linear density dependence and rainfall (with a 2-year time lag corresponding to development time) explain 75% of the variance in the rate of increase. Such fluctuations around a variable return point might be responsible for the seemingly erratic demography and disequilibrium dynamics of many amphibian populations.

Communicated by Anssi Laurila