Wetlands

, Volume 37, Issue 3, pp 545–557 | Cite as

Drying Rates of Ephemeral Wetlands: Implications for Breeding Amphibians

  • Houston C. Chandler
  • Daniel L. McLaughlin
  • Thomas A. Gorman
  • Kevin J. McGuire
  • Jeffrey B. Feaga
  • Carola A. Haas
Original Research

Abstract

Ephemeral wetlands provide breeding habitat for many amphibian species, and wetland hydrology plays a crucial role in determining amphibian breeding success. We discuss the potential influence of recession rates (i.e., rate of water level decline) and empirically evaluate them in wetlands inhabited by the endangered reticulated flatwoods salamander (Ambystoma bishopi). Rapid water level declines are potentially problematic for reticulated flatwoods salamanders because this species has a long development period, with metamorphosis generally occurring from March to May when groundwater losses are combined with high evapotranspiration rates. To evaluate magnitude, variability, and drivers of recession rates, we monitored water levels in 33 wetlands in the Florida panhandle and examined recession rates during the flatwoods salamander reproductive period. After controlling for the effects of specific yield, standardized recession rates were, on average, 3.9 times daily potential evapotranspiration rates, suggesting that groundwater fluxes are an important driver of water level declines in these wetlands. Standardized recession rates were variable across the landscape and increased with decreasing wetland size, indicating that larger wetlands are often hydrologically more suitable for flatwoods salamanders. This work points to these and other controls on wetland recession rates and their role in regulating amphibian reproductive success.

Keywords

Ambystoma bishopi Reticulated flatwoods salamander Florida Hydrology Pine flatwoods Recession rates 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank the many people that have assisted with this work, especially K. Brown, T. Craig, K. Gault, S. Goodman, B. Hagedorn, J. Johnson, K. Jones, Y. Liang, J. Preston, and B. Rincon. We thank the Natural Resources Branch of Eglin Air Force Base (Jackson Guard), Hurlburt Field, Department of Defense Legacy Resource Management Program, the US Fish and Wildlife Service Panama City Field Office, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Aquatic Habitat Restoration and Enhancement program, and the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation at Virginia Tech for financial and logistical support of this project. This work was supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, McIntire Stennis project 1006328. The manuscript benefited from the comments of two anonymous reviewers.

References

  1. Alford RA, Harris RN (1988) Effects of larval growth history on anuran metamorphosis. The American Naturalist 131:91–106CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Allen RG, Pereira LS, Raes D, Smith M (1998) Crop evapotranspiration – guidelines for computing crop water requirements. FAO irrigation and drainage paper 56. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United States. Rome, ItalyGoogle Scholar
  3. Altwegg R, Reyer H-U (2003) Patterns of natural selection on size at metamorphosis in water frogs. Evolution 57:872–882CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Anderson JD, Williamson GK (1976) Terrestrial mode of reproduction in Ambystoma cingulatum. Herpetologica 32:214–221Google Scholar
  5. Baber MJ, Babbitt KJ (2004) Influence of habitat complexity on predator-prey interactions between the fish (Gambusia holbrooki) and tadpoles of Hyla squirrela and Gastrophryne carolinensis. Copeia 2004:173–177CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Baldwin RF, Calhoun AJK, deMaynadier PG (2006) The significance of hydroperiod and stand maturity for pool-breeding amphibians in forested landscapes. Canadian Journal of Zoology 84:1604–1615CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bishop DC, Haas CA (2005) Burning trends and potential negative effects of suppressing wetland fires on flatwoods salamanders. Natural Areas Journal 25:290–294Google Scholar
  8. Chandler HC, Haas CA, Gorman TA (2015) The effects of habitat structure on winter aquatic invertebrate and amphibian communities in pine flatwoods wetlands. Wetlands 35:1201–1211CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chandler HC, Rypel AL, Jiao Y, Haas CA, Gorman TA (2016) Hindcasting historical breeding conditions for an endangered salamander in ephemeral wetlands of the southeastern USA: implications of climate change. PLoS ONE 11:e0150169CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  10. Daubenmire RF (1959) A canopy-cover method of vegetational analysis. Northwest Science 33:43–46Google Scholar
  11. Drexler JZ, Snyder RL, Spano D, Paw U, Tha K (2004) A review of models and micrometeorological methods used to estimate wetland evapotranspiration. Hydrological Processes 18:2071–2101CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Egan RS, Paton PWC (2004) Within-pond parameters affecting oviposition by wood frogs and spotted salamanders. Wetlands 24:1–13CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Erwin KE, Chandler HC, Palis JG, Gorman TA, Haas CA (2016) Herpetofaunal communities in ephemeral wetlands embedded within longleaf pine flatwoods of the Gulf Coastal Plain. Southeastern Naturalist 15:431–447CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gibbons JW, Winne CT, Scott DE, Willson JD, Glaudas X, Andrews KM, Todd BD, Fedewa LA, Wilkinson L, Tsaliagos RN, Harper SJ, Geene JL, Tuberville TD, Metts BS, Dorcas ME, Nestor JP, Young CA, Akre T, Reed RN, Buhlmann KA, Norman J, Croshaw DA, Hagen C, Rothermel BB (2006) Remarkable amphibian biomass and abundance in an isolated wetland: implications for wetland conservation. Conservation Biology 20:1457–1465CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Gomez-Mestre I, Kulkarni S, Buchholz DR (2013) Mechanisms and consequences of developmental acceleration in tadpoles responding to pond drying. PLoS One 8:e84266CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  16. Gorman TA, Haas CA (2011) Seasonal microhabitat selection and use of syntopic populations of Lithobates okaloosae and Lithobates clamitans clamitans. Journal of Herpetology 45:313–318CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gorman TA, Haas CA, Bishop DC (2009) Factors related to occupancy of breeding wetlands by flatwoods salamander larvae. Wetlands 29:323–329CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gorman TA, Haas CA, Himes JG (2013) Evaluating methods to restore amphibian habitat in fire-suppressed pine flatwoods wetlands. Fire Ecology 8:96–109CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gorman TA, Powell SD, Jones KC, Haas CA (2014) Microhabitat characteristics of egg deposition sites used by reticulated flatwoods salamanders. Herpetological Conservation and Biology 9:543–550Google Scholar
  20. Hartel T, Nemes S, Cogălniceanu D, Öllerer K, Schweiger O, Moga CI, Demeter L (2007) The effect of fish and aquatic habitat complexity on amphibians. Hydrobiologia 583:173–182CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hayashi M, Rosenberry DO (2002) Effects of ground water exchange on the hydrology and ecology of surface water. Groundwater 40:309–316CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Healy RW, Cook PG (2002) Using groundwater levels to estimate recharge. Hydrogeology Journal 10:91–109CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hill EP (2013) Ambystoma cingulatum (frosted flatwoods salamander): courtship and oviposition. Herpetological Review 44:113–114Google Scholar
  24. Hill AJ, Durchholz B (2015) Specific yield functions for estimating evapotranspiration from diurnal surface water cycles. Journal of the American Water Resources Association 51:123–132CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hill AJ, Neary VS (2007) Estimating evapotranspiration and seepage for a sinkhole wetland from diurnal surface‐water cycles. Journal of the American Water Resources Association 43:1373–1382CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hiscock KM, Bense VF (2014) Hydrogeology: principles and practice, 2nd edn. Wiley-Blackwell, HobokenGoogle Scholar
  27. Holbrook JD, Dorn NJ (2016) Fish reduce anuran abundance and decrease herpetofaunal species richness in wetlands. Freshwater Biology 61:100–109CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kirkman LK (1995) Impacts of fire and hydrological regimes on vegetation in depression wetlands of southeastern USA. In: Cerulean SI, Engstrom RT (eds) Fire in wetlands: a management perspective. Proceedings of the Tall Timbers Fire Ecology Conference 19. Tall Timbers Research Station, Tallahassee, pp 10–20Google Scholar
  29. Lu J, Sun G, McNulty SG, Amatya DM (2005) A comparison of six potential evapotranspiration methods for regional use in the southeastern United States. Journal of the American Water Resources Association 41:621–633CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Lu J, Sun G, McNulty SG, Comerford NB (2009) Sensitivity of pine flatwoods hydrology to climate change and forest management in Florida, USA. Wetlands 29:826–836CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Martin KL, Kirkman LK (2009) Management of ecological thresholds to re-establish disturbance-maintained herbaceous wetlands of the southeastern USA. Journal of Applied Ecology 46:906–914CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. McLaughlin DL, Cohen MJ (2013) Realizing ecosystem services: wetland hydrologic function along a gradient of ecological condition. Ecological Applications 23:1619–1631CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. McLaughlin DL, Cohen MJ (2014) Ecosystem specific yield for estimating evapotranspiration and groundwater exchange from diel surface water variation. Hydrological Processes 28:1495–1506CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Mitsch WJ, Gosselink JG (2007)Google Scholar
  35. Mohamed YA, Bastiaanssen WGM, Savenije HHG, van den Hurk BJJM, Finlayson CM (2012) Wetland versus open water evaporation: an analysis and literature review. Physics and Chemistry of the Earth 47:114–121CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Monteith JL (1965) Evaporation and environment. In: Fogg GE (ed) the state of movement of water in living organisms. Society for Experimental Biology (Great Britain), Symposium No. 19. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 205–234Google Scholar
  37. Morey S, Reznick D (2000) A comparative analysis of plasticity in larval development in three species of spadefoot toads. Ecology 81:1736–1749CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Muggeo VM (2015) Regression models with breakpoints/changepoints estimation. R package version 0.5-1.1. http://www.R-project.org
  39. Orellana F, Verma P, Loheide SP, Daly E (2012) Monitoring and modeling water‐vegetation interactions in groundwater‐dependent ecosystems. Reviews of Geophysics 50:RG3003CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Palis JG (1997) Distribution, habitat, and status of the flatwoods salamander (Ambystoma cingulatum) in Florida. Herpetological Natural History 5:53–65Google Scholar
  41. Palis JG, Aresco MJ, Kilpatrick S (2006) Breeding biology of a Florida population of Ambystoma cingulatum (Flatwoods Salamander) during a drought. Southeastern Naturalist 5:1–8Google Scholar
  42. Park J, Botter G, Jawitz JW, Rao PSC (2014) Stochastic modeling of hydrologic variability of geographically isolated wetlands: effects of hydro-climatic forcing and wetland bathymetry. Advances in Water Resources 69:38–48CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Pechmann JHK, Scott DE, Gibbons JW, Semlitsch RD (1989) Influence of wetland hydroperiod on diversity and abundance of metamorphosing juvenile amphibians. Wetlands Ecology and Management 1:3–11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Porej D, Hetherington TE (2005) Designing wetlands for amphibians: the importance of predatory fish and shallow littoral zones in structuring of amphibian communities. Wetlands Ecology and Management 13:445–455CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. R Core Team (2014) R: a language and environment for statistical computing. R foundation for statistical computing. Vienna, Austria. http://www.R-project.org
  46. Riekerk H, Korhnak LV (2000) The hydrology of cypress wetlands in Florida pine flatwoods. Wetlands 20:448–460CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Russell KR, Guynn DC Jr, Hanlin HG (2002) Importance of small isolated wetlands for herpetofaunal diversity in managed, young growth forests in the Coastal Plain of South Carolina. Forest Ecology and Management 163:43–59CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Ryan JA, Ulrich JM (2014) eXtensible time series. R package version 0.9-7. http://www.R-project.org
  49. Sánchez-Carrillo S, Angeler DG, Sánchez-Andrés R, Alvarez-Cobelas M, Garatuza-Payán J (2004) Evapotranspiration in semi-arid wetlands: relationships between inundation and the macrophyte-cover: open-water ratio. Advances in Water Resources 27:643–655CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Scott DE (1994) The effect of larval density on adult demographic traits in Ambystoma opacum. Ecology 75:1383–1396CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Sekerak CM, Tanner GW, Palis JG (1996) Ecology of flatwoods salamander larvae in breeding ponds in Apalachicola National Forest. Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies 50:321–330Google Scholar
  52. Semlitsch RD (2002) Critical elements for biologically based recovery plans of aquatic breeding amphibians. Conservation Biology 16:619–629CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Semlitsch RD, Wilbur HM (1988) Effects of pond drying time on metamorphosis and survival in the salamander Ambystoma talpoideum. Copeia 1988:978–983CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Semlitsch RD, Scott DE, Pechmann JHK, Gibbons JW (1996) Structure and dynamics of an amphibian community: evidence from a 16-yr study of a natural pond. In: Cody ML, Smallwood JD (eds) Long-term studies of vertebrate communities. Academic, New York, pp 217–248CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Sharitz RR (2003) Carolina bay wetlands: unique habitats of the southeastern United States. Wetlands 23:550–562CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Skelly DK (1997) Tadpole communities: pond permanence and predation are powerful forces shaping the structure of tadpole communities. American Scientist 85:36–45Google Scholar
  57. Snodgrass JW, Komoroski MT, Bryan AL Jr, Burger J (2000) Relationships among isolated wetland size, hydroperiod, and amphibian species richness: implications for wetland regulations. Conservation Biology 14:414–419CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Soil Survey Staff, Natural Resources Conservation Service, United States Department of Agriculture. Web Soil Survey. Available at: http://websoilsurvey.nrcs.usda.gov/. Accessed April 25th, 2016
  59. Sumner DM (2007) Effects of capillarity and microtopography on wetland specific yield. Wetlands 27:693–701CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Sutter RD, Kral R (1994) The ecology, status, and conservation of two non-alluvial wetland communities in the South Atlantic and Eastern Gulf coastal plain, USA. Biological Conservation 68:235–243CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Taylor BE, Scott DE, Gibbons JW (2006) Catastrophic reproductive failure, terrestrial survival, and persistence of the marbled salamander. Conservation Biology 20:792–801CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  62. Thornthwaite CB (1948) Factors affecting evaporation from plants and soils. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation 12:221–227Google Scholar
  63. Tiner RW (2003) Geographically isolated wetlands of the United States. Wetlands 23:494–516CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. United States Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service (2009) Endangered and threatened wildlife and plants; Determination of endangered status for reticulated flatwoods salamander; Designation of critical habitat for frosted flatwoods salamander and reticulated flatwoods salamander. Federal Register 74:6700–6774Google Scholar
  65. Werner EE (1986) Amphibian metamorphosis: growth rate, predation risk, and the optimal size at transformation. The American Naturalist 128:319–341CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Whiles MR, Goldowitz BS (2001) Hydrologic influences on insect emergence production from central Platte River wetlands. Ecological Applications 11:1829–1842CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Wilbur HM, Collins JP (1973) Ecological aspects of amphibian metamorphosis. Science 182:1305–1314CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  68. Winter TC, LaBaugh JW (2003) Hydrologic considerations in defining isolated wetlands. Wetlands 23:532–540CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Zeileis A, Grothendieck G, Ryan JA, Andrews F (2015) S3 Infrastructure for regular and irregular time series (Z’s ordered observations). R package version 1.7-11. http://www.R-project.org

Copyright information

© Society of Wetland Scientists 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Houston C. Chandler
    • 1
    • 2
  • Daniel L. McLaughlin
    • 3
  • Thomas A. Gorman
    • 1
    • 4
  • Kevin J. McGuire
    • 3
    • 5
  • Jeffrey B. Feaga
    • 1
  • Carola A. Haas
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Fish and Wildlife ConservationVirginia TechBlacksburgUSA
  2. 2.The Orianne SocietyTigerUSA
  3. 3.Department of Forest Resources and Environmental ConservationVirginia TechBlacksburgUSA
  4. 4.Aquatic Resources Division, Washington State Department of Natural ResourcesChehalisUSA
  5. 5.Virginia Water Resources Research CenterVirginia TechBlacksburgUSA

Personalised recommendations