Advertisement

Habitat suitability of patch types: A case study of the Yosemite toad

  • Christina T. LiangEmail author
  • Thomas J. Stohlgren
Research Article

Abstract

Understanding patch variability is crucial in understanding the spatial population structure of wildlife species, especially for rare or threatened species. We used a well-tested maximum entropy species distribution model (Maxent) to map the Yosemite toad (Anaxyrus (= Bufo) canorus) in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. Twenty-six environmental variables were included in the model representing climate, topography, land cover type, and disturbance factors (e.g., distances to agricultural lands, fire perimeters, and timber harvest areas) throughout the historic range of the toad. We then took a novel approach to the study of spatially structured populations by applying the species-environmental matching model separately for 49 consistently occupied sites of the Yosemite toad compared to 27 intermittently occupied sites. We found that the distribution of the entire population was highly predictable (AUC = 0.95±0.03 SD), and associated with low slopes, specific vegetation types (wet meadow, alpine-dwarf shrub, montane chaparral, red fir, and subalpine conifer), and warm temperatures. The consistently occupied sites were also associated with these same factors, and they were also highly predictable (AUC = 0.95±0.05 SD). However, the intermittently occupied sites were associated with distance to fire perimeter, a slightly different response to vegetation types, distance to timber harvests, and a much broader set of aspect classes (AUC = 0.90±0.11 SD). We conclude that many studies of species distributions may benefit by modeling spatially structured populations separately. Modeling and monitoring consistently-occupied sites may provide a realistic snapshot of current species-environment relationships, important climatic and topographic patterns associated with species persistence patterns, and an understanding of the plasticity of the species to respond to varying climate regimes across its range. Meanwhile, modeling and monitoring of widely dispersing individuals and intermittently occupied sites may uncover environmental thresholds and human-related threats to population persistence.

Keywords

species distribution models Maxent habitat patch patchy populations Yosemite toad Anaxyrus canorus Bufo canorus 

References

  1. Alford R A, Richards S J (1999). Global amphibian declines: a problem in applied ecology. Annu Rev Ecol Syst, 30(1): 133–165CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bradford D F, Neale A C, Nash M S, Sada D W, Jaeger J R (2003). Habitat patch occupancy by toads (Bufo punctatus) in a naturally fragmented desert landscape. Ecology, 84(4): 1012–1023CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Davidson C, Shaffer H B, Jennings M R (2002). Spatial tests of the pesticide drift, habitat destruction, UV-B, and climate-change hypotheses for California amphibian declines. Conserv Biol, 16(6): 1588–1601CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Drost C A, Fellers G M (1996). Collapse of a regional frog fauna in the Yosemite area of the California Sierra Nevada, USA. Conserv Biol, 10(2): 414–425CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Elith J, Graham C H, Anderson R P, Dudik M, Ferrier S, Guisan A, Hijmans R J, Huettmann F, Leathwick J R, Lehmann A, Li J, Lohmann L G, Loiselle B A, Lohmann G, Manion G, Moritz C, Overton J M, Peterson A T, Phillips S J, Nakamura M, Nakazawa Y, Schapire R E, Wisz M S, Zimmermann N E (2006). Novel methods improve prediction of species’ distributions from occurrence data. Ecography, 29: 129–151CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Evangelista P H, Kumar S, Stohlgren T J, Jarnevich C S, Crall A W, Norman J B III, Barnett D T (2008). Modelling invasion for a habitat generalist and a specialist plant species. Divers Distrib, 14(5): 808–817CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Ficetola G F, Thuiller W, Miaud C (2007). Prediction and validation of the potential global distribution of a problematic alien invasive species—the American bullfrog. Divers Distrib, 13(4): 476–485CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Frankham R, Ballou J D, Briscoe D A (2002). Introduction to conservation genetics. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  9. Fuller T, Morton D P, Sarkar S (2008). Incorporating uncertainty about species’ potential distributions under climate change into the selection of conservation areas with a case study from the Arctic Coastal Plain of Alaska. Biol Conserv, 141(6): 1547–1559CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Funk WC, Greene A E, Corn P S, Allendorf FW (2005). High dispersal in a frog species suggests that it is vulnerable to habitat fragmentation. Biol Lett, 1(1): 13–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Giovanelli J G R, Haddad C F B, Alexandrino J (2008). Predicting the potential distribution of the alien invasive American bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus) in Brazil. Biol Invasions, 10(5): 585–590CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hanski I (1999). Metapopulation Ecology. New York: Oxford University PressGoogle Scholar
  13. Harrison S, Taylor A D (1997). Empirical evidence for metapopulation dynamics. In: Hanski I, Gilpin M E, eds. Metapopulation Dynamics: Ecology, Genetics and Evolution. New York: Academic Press, 27–42Google Scholar
  14. Heisswolf A, Reichmann S, Poethke H J, Schrader B, Obermaier E (2009). Habitat quality matters for the distribution of an endangered leaf beetle and its egg parasitoid in a fragmented landscape. J Insect Conserv, 13(2): 165–175CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Jarnevich C S, Stohlgren T J (2009). Near term climate projections for invasive species distributions. Biol Invasions, 11(6): 1373–1379CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Karlstrom E L (1962). The toad genus Bufo in the Sierra Nevada of California. Univ Calif Publ Zool, 62: 1–104Google Scholar
  17. Kokko H, López-Sepulcre A (2006). From individual dispersal to species ranges: perspectives for a changing world. Science, 313(5788): 789–791CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kumar S, Spaulding S A, Stohlgren T J, Hermann K A, Schmidt T S, Bahls L L (2009). Predicting habitat distribution for freshwater diatom Didymosphenia geminata in the continental United States. Front Ecol Environ, 7: 415–420CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Levins R A (1969). Some demographic and evolutionary consequences of environmental heterogeneity for biological control. Bull Entomol Soc Am, 15: 237–240Google Scholar
  20. Li M Y, Ju Y W, Kumar S, Stohlgren T J (2008). Modeling potential habitats for alien species Dreissena polymorpha (Zebra mussel) in the Continental USA. Acta Ecol Sin, 28(9): 4253–4258CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lloyd H (2008). Influence of within-patch habitat quality on high-Andean Polylepis bird abundance. Ibis, 150(4): 735–745CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Marsh D M, Trenham P C (2001). Metapopulation dynamics and amphibian conservation. Conserv Biol, 15: 40–49Google Scholar
  23. Mortelliti A, Amori G, Boitani L (2010). The role of habitat quality in fragmented landscapes: a conceptual overview and prospectus for future research. Oecologia, 163(2): 535–547CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Pawar S, Koo M S, Kelley C, Ahmed M F, Chaudhuri S, Sarkar S (2007). Conservation assessment and prioritization of areas in Northeast India: Priorities for amphibians and reptiles. Biol Conserv, 136(3): 346–361CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Pearson R G, Raxworthy C J, Nakamura M, Peterson A T (2007). Predicting species distributions from small numbers of occurrence records: A test case using cryptic geckos in Madagascar. J Biogeogr, 34(1): 102–117CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Petranka JW, Holbrook C T (2006).Wetland restoration for amphibians: should local sites be designed to support metapopulations or patchy populations? Restor Ecol, 14(3): 404–411CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Phillips B L, Brown G P, Webb J K, Shine R (2006a). Invasion and the evolution of speed in toads. Nature, 439(7078): 803CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Phillips S J, Dudik M, Schapire R E (2004). A maximum entropy approach to species distribution modeling. Brodley C E, ed. In: Proceedings of the 21st International Conference on Machine Learning. New York: ACM Press, 655–662Google Scholar
  29. Phillips S J, Anderson R P, Schapire R E (2006b). Maximum entropy modeling of species geographic distributions. Ecol Modell, 190(3–4): 231–259CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Pilliod D S, Bury R B, Hyde E J, Pearl C A, Corn P S (2003). Fire and amphibians in North America. For Ecol Manage, 178(1–2): 163–181CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Pulliam H R (1988). Sources, sinks, and population regulation. Am Nat, 132(5): 652–661CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Riley S P D, Busteed G T, Kats L B, Vandergon T L, Lee L F S, Dagit R G, Kerby J L, Fisher R N, Sauvajot R M (2005). Effects of urbanization on the distribution and abundance of amphibians and invasive species in Southern California streams. Conserv Biol, 19(6): 1894–1907CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Schooley R L, Branch L C (2009). Enhancing the area-isolation paradigm: habitat heterogeneity and metapopulation dynamics of a rare wetland mammal. Ecol Appl, 19(7): 1708–1722CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Semlitsch R D, Todd B D, Blomquist SM, Calhoun A J K, Gibbons JW, Gibbs J P, Graeter G J, Harper E B, Hocking D J, Hunter M L Jr, Patrick D A, Rittenhouse T A G, Rothermel B B (2009). Effects of timber harvest on amphibian population: Understanding mechanisms from forest experiments. Bioscience, 59(10): 853–862CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Sherman C K, Morton M L (1993). Population declines of Yosemite toads in the eastern Sierra Nevada of California. J Herpetol, 27(2): 186–198CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Smith M A, Green D M (2005). Dispersal and the metapopulation paradigm in amphibian ecology and conservation: Are all amphibian populations metapopulations? Ecography, 28: 110–128CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Svenning J C, Normand S, Kageyama M (2008). Glacial refugia of temperate trees in Europe: Insights from species distribution modelling. J Ecol, 96(6): 1117–1127CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) (2002). 12-month finding for a petition to list the Yosemite toad. Federal Register, 67: 75834–75843Google Scholar
  39. Waltari E, Guralnick R P (2009). Ecological niche modelling of montane mammals in the Great Basin, North America: examining past and present connectivity of species across basins and ranges. J Biogeogr, 36(1): 148–161CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Higher Education Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental Science and PolicyUniversity of California at DavisDavisUSA
  2. 2.USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research StationSierra Nevada Research CenterDavisUSA
  3. 3.U.S. Geological Survey ScienceFort Collins Science CenterFort CollinsUSA

Personalised recommendations