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Wetlands

, Volume 33, Issue 4, pp 641–652 | Cite as

Predation Modifies Larval Amphibian Communities in Urban Wetlands

  • Andrew J. Hamer
  • Kirsten M. Parris
Article

Abstract

Fish introduced into wetlands can impact amphibian populations through predation on eggs and larvae. While relationships among hydroperiod, habitat complexity and predation on amphibian larvae have been examined in relatively natural freshwater ecosystems, they have not been explicitly considered in urban landscapes. We examined these relationships in 64 urban wetlands in southern Australia using non-native fish and aquatic invertebrates as predators. Larvae of three out of six frog species detected during our study were captured in wetlands containing fish. With other variables held constant, the mean number of tree frog (Litoria spp.) larvae in the wetland with the highest abundance of predatory fish was predicted to be only 0.8–3.2 % of the number of larvae in a fishless wetland. We also found a negative relationship between predatory invertebrates and larval abundance. The abundance of tree frog larvae was greatest in ephemeral wetlands where predatory fish were generally absent. Our results suggest that traditional models of amphibian distribution along pond-permanence gradients may not be applicable in urban ecosystems due to modified hydrology favoring permanent wetlands. To conserve amphibians in urban areas, we recommend draining wetlands periodically to remove exotic fish, and conserving or restoring ephemeral wetlands.

Keywords

Conservation Exotic species Hydroperiod Urban ecology Urbanization Wetland management 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank Sam Davis, Terry Coates, Andrew Gay, Andrew Smith and Colin Walker for facilitating access to wetland sites. Geoff Heard and Eliza Poole assisted with fieldwork. Michael Smith provided advice on trap design. We also thank Marion Anstis for assistance with tadpole identification, and Tara Martin, Michael McCarthy and Joslin Moore for assistance with statistical modeling. The Baker Foundation and National Environmental Research Program (Research Hub for Environmental Decisions) provided generous support for this research. This study was approved by the University of Melbourne Animal Ethics Committee (register no. 0706488). Fieldwork was conducted under research permit no. 10004319 issued by the Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment.

Supplementary material

13157_2013_420_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (61 kb)
Online Resource 1 Spearman correlation coefficients (Spearman’s rho, ρ) among predator and habitat variables (PDF 61 kb)
13157_2013_420_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (10 kb)
Online Resource 2 Summary of aquatic sampling at 64 urban wetlands in the Greater Melbourne area, Australia (PDF 9 kb)
13157_2013_420_MOESM3_ESM.pdf (16 kb)
Online Resource 3 The mean CPUE of predatory fish (mosquitofish and redfin perch) and the larvae of six frog species according to hydroperiod at 64 wetlands in the Greater Melbourne area, Australia, 2007–2008. CPUE data were log(x+1)-transformed to reduce the influence of large values and to aid in interpretation. Permanent wetlands had a hydroperiod score = 1; ephemeral wetlands had a score <1. (PDF 15 kb)
13157_2013_420_MOESM4_ESM.pdf (8 kb)
Online Resource 4 Proportion of predatory invertebrate taxa captured at the 64 wetlands (PDF 8 kb)

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Copyright information

© Society of Wetland Scientists 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Australian Research Centre for Urban Ecology, Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, c/o School of BotanyUniversity of MelbourneVictoriaAustralia
  2. 2.School of BotanyUniversity of MelbourneVictoriaAustralia

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