Weather variability permitted within amphibian monitoring protocol and affects on calling Hylidae
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Anuran populations are sensitive to changing environmental conditions and act as useful indicators. Presently, much information collected concerning frog populations comes from volunteers following the North American Amphibian Monitoring Protocol. Does weather variability allowed within protocol affect the abundance of calling frogs? For 10 years, Credit Valley Conservation (Ontario, Canada) has been collecting anuran data concerning nine frog species employing three frog monitoring runs. Records include frog abundance by protocol code and five weather variables. Antecedent precipitation and temperature were determined from the nearest weather station. Locations with large source populations of two Hylidae species were selected (spring peeper calling in April and gray tree frog in May). Spearman correlations suggested there were no significant relationships between calling abundance of Hylidae species and ambient wind speed or humidity. However, gray tree frogs were temperature sensitive and calling was significantly related to increased water and air temperatures as well as day time high temperatures over the previous 2 weeks. Both species of calling Hylidae were affected by the volume and timing of precipitation (though, in different ways). Gray tree frogs seem to prefer drier conditions (when temperatures are significantly warmer) while spring peepers prefer to call during, or closely following, precipitation. Monitors targeting gray tree frog should track local weather conditions and focus on evenings when it is (a) warmer than the minimum temperatures and (b) drier than suggested by the protocol. It is recommended that an additional monitoring run could be added to reduce detection variability of this species.
KeywordsMonitoring protocol Hylidae Weather Ambient temperature Antecedent precipitation Citizen science
We would like to thank Credit Valley Conservation, Mississauga, ON for the continuing support as well as the many landowners for allowing continuous access to their properties over all these years. We would also like to acknowledge the continuing assistance of Marie Puddister, Department of Geography, University of Guelph, with the production of all figures and diagrams.
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