Relative predation risk and risk of desiccation co-determine oviposition preferences in Cope’s gray treefrog, Hyla chrysoscelis
Habitat permanence and threat of predation are primary drivers of community assembly and composition in lentic freshwater systems. Pond-breeding amphibians select oviposition sites to maximize fitness and minimize risks of predation and desiccation of their offspring, typically facing a trade-off between the two as predation risk often increases as desiccation risk decreases. To experimentally determine if Hyla chrysoscelis partition oviposition along gradients of relative desiccation risk and predation risk, we tested oviposition site preference in a natural population of treefrogs colonizing experimental ponds that varied in water depth and contained predatory larvae of two Ambystoma salamander species. Hyla chrysoscelis selected habitats with both lower predation risk, avoiding A. talpoideum over A. maculatum, and lower desiccation risk, selecting ponds with three times greater depth. We demonstrate that adult oviposition site choices simultaneously minimize relative predation risk and desiccation risk and that closely related salamander species produce functionally different responses among colonizing animals.
KeywordsCommunity assembly Functional diversity Habitat selection Hyla Temporary ponds
J. Bohenek and L. Eveland assisted with fieldwork. T. Breech provided helpful comments on the manuscript. Support was provided by the University of Mississippi and the Henry L. and Grace Doherty Foundation. This research was approved by the University of Mississippi’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (14-027) and the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (0624141). The authors declare no conflicts of interest.
Author contribution statement
MRP conceived, designed, and conducted the experiment. MRP analyzed the data and wrote the manuscript with input from WJR. Both authors gave final approval for publication.
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