Hydrobiologia

, Volume 680, Issue 1, pp 233–245

Assessing the potential impact of an invasive species on a Mediterranean amphibian assemblage: a morphological and ecological approach

Authors

    • Institute of Aquatic Ecology and Department of Environmental Science, Faculty of SciencesUniversity of Girona
  • Dani Boix
    • Institute of Aquatic Ecology and Department of Environmental Science, Faculty of SciencesUniversity of Girona
Primary Research Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10750-011-0936-5

Cite this article as:
Escoriza, D. & Boix, D. Hydrobiologia (2012) 680: 233. doi:10.1007/s10750-011-0936-5

Abstract

The introduction of exotic species is a major cause of ecological disturbance and has recently been shown to promote the decline of some amphibian populations. In Western Europe, several amphibian species have been introduced in recent decades, among them Discoglossus pictus, impact of which in native amphibian communities is still unknown. We studied the potential impact of D. pictus by analysing the degree of niche overlap, assuming the possible existence of competitive interactions with native species. We have studied the structure of the anuran assemblage at local level, defining the morphospace occupied by native species and the habitat occupied by the different ecomorphs. The analysis of distance matrices suggested that there was a covariation between morphological characters and habitat selection. We determined the position of D. pictus within the morphospace of the native anuran community, patterns of co-occurrence among alien, and native species and habitat selection. The potential effect of climate on local assemblages had been controlled based on data obtained from climate models. These analysis showed that D. pictus was clustered with the benthic guild, selected positively small ephemeral ponds and was a thermophilic species. Based on these results, a greater degree of niche overlap was expected with Bufo calamita and Pelodytes punctatus. The definition of morphological groups can be useful to understand the invaded assemblage structure and the potential effect of an alien frog on native communities.

Keywords

Anuran larvaeCo-occurrenceDiscoglossus pictusMorphological guildsTemporary ponds

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011