, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 153–161 | Cite as

Distribution of amphibians in terrestrial habitat surrounding wetlands

  • Tracy A. G. Rittenhouse
  • Raymond D. Semlitsch


Estimating the distribution of amphibians in terrestrial habitats surrounding wetlands is essential for determining how much habitat is required to maintain viable amphibian populations and how much habitat may be allocated to other land use practices. We apply univariate kernel estimation in a new manner to determine the distribution of amphibians during the non-breeding season. We summarized data from 13 radio telemetry studies that reported net maximum distance traveled from the breeding site for each individual (n = 404 individuals), and calculated a univariate kernel density estimate for all data combined. Kernel density estimation provides a function for the probability of an amphibian being present at a given distance from the breeding site and bootstrap methods allow for error estimates of isopleth values. Amphibians generally occurred at a short distance from the wetland (50% isopleth was at 93 m) and declined at greater distances (95% isopleth was at 664 m); however, use of habitat immediately adjacent (e.g., < 30 m) to the breeding site was lower than the peak for all species. The shape of the distribution was consistent for frogs and salamanders; however, the 95% kernel isopleth for the salamander estimate (245 m) was less than half the distance of the frog estimate (703 m), indicating that frogs distributed themselves at much greater distances from the breeding site than salamanders. Kernel estimates for the two western species, Rana luteiventris and Bufo boreas, did not peak near the breeding site as in the other species, suggesting that non-breeding habitat for these species is not located near breeding sites. We were unable to detect a statistical difference between sexes, but females tend to use habitat at greater distances from the wetland than males. Our results revealed that amphibians are not uniformly distributed in terrestrial habitats surrounding wetlands.

Key Words

buffer zone core habitat habitat use kernel density estimation local population utilization distribution 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Literature Cited

  1. Baldwin, R. F. 2005. Pool-breeding amphibian habitat use and conservation in southern Maine’s urbanizing landscapes. Ph.D. Dissertation. University of Maine, Orono, Maine, USA.Google Scholar
  2. Bartelt, P. E., C. R. Peterson, and R. E. Klaver. 2004. Sexual differences in the post-breeding movements and habitats selected by western toads (Bufo boreas) in southeastern Idaho. Herpetologica 60: 455–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Biek, R., W. C. Funk, B. A. Maxell, and S. Mills. 2002. What is missing in amphibian decline research?: Insights from ecological sensitivity analysis. Conservation Biology 16: 728–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Blundell, G. M., J. A. K. Maier, and E. M. Debevec. 2001. Linear home ranges: effects of smoothing, sample size, and autocorrelation on kernel estimates. Ecological Monographs 71: 469–89.Google Scholar
  5. Castelle, A. J., A. W. Johnson, and C. Conolly. 1994. Wetland and stream buffer size requirements: A review. Journal of Environmental Quality 23: 878–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Comer, P. and K. Goodwin. 2006. Biodiversity at risk in isolated wetlands. National Wetlands Newsletter 28: 6–8.Google Scholar
  7. Dodd, K. C. and B. S. Cade. 1998. Movement patterns and the conservation of amphibians breeding in small, temporary wetlands. Conservation Biology 12: 331–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Euliss, N. H., J. W. LaBaugh, L. H. Fredrickson, D. M. Mushet, M. K. Laubhan, G. A. Swanson, T. C. Winter, D. O. Rosenberry, and R. D. Nelson. 2004. The wetland continuum: a conceptual framework for interpreting biological studies. Wetlands 24: 448–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Faccio, S. 2003. Postbreeding emigration and habitat use by Jefferson and spotted salamanders in Vermont. Journal of Herpetology 37: 479–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Fellers, G. M. 1979. Aggression, territoriality, and mating behaviour in North American treefrogs. Animal Behavior 27: 107–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Fretwell, S. D. and H. L. Lucas. 1969. On territorial behavior and other factors influencing habitat distribution in birds. I. Theoretical development. Acta Biotheoretica 19: 16–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gibbons, J. W., C. T. Winne, D. E. Scott, J. D. Willson, X. Glaudas, K. M. Andrews, B. D. Todd, L. A. Fedewa, L. Wilkinson, R. N. Tsaliagos, S. J. Harper, J. L. Greene, T. D. Tuberville, B. S. Metts, M. E. Dorcas, J. P. Nestor, C. A. Young, T. Akre, R. N. Reed, K. A. Buhlman, J. Norman, D. A. Croshaw, C. Hagen, and B. B. Rothermel. 2006. Remarkable amphibian biomass and abundance in an isolated wetland: implications for wetland conservation. Conservation Biology 20: 1457–65.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Halpern, B. S., S. D. Gaines, and R. R. Warner. 2005. Habitat size, recruitment, and longevity as factors limiting population size in stage-structured species. American Naturalist 165: 82–94.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Houlahan, J. E. and C. S. Findlay. 2004. Estimating the ‘critical’ distance at which adjacent land-use degrades wetland water and sediment quality. Landscape Ecology 19: 677–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Jehle, R. and J. W. Arntzen. 2000. Post-breeding migrations of newts (Triturus cristatus and T. marmoratus) with contrasting ecological requirements. Journal of Zoology 251: 297–306.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Johnson, J. R. 2005. Multi-scale investigations of gray treefrog movements: patterns of migration, dispersal, and gene flow. Ph.D. Dissertation. University of Missouri, Columbia, MO, USA.Google Scholar
  17. Jones, M. C., J. S. Marron, and S. J. Sheather. 1996. A brief survey of bandwidth selection for density estimation. Journal of American Statistics Association 91: 401–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kernohan, B. J., R. A. Gitzen, and J. J. Millspaugh. 2001. Analysis of animal space use and movements. In J. J. Millspaugh and J. M. Marzluff (eds.) Radio Tracking and Animal Populations. Academic Press, New York, NY, USA.Google Scholar
  19. Kramer, D. C. 1971. Seasonal movements of western chorus frogs (Pseudacris triseriata triseriata) tagged with radioactive cobalt. Ph.D. Dissertation. Ball State University, Muncie, IN, USA.Google Scholar
  20. Kusano, T., K. Maruyama, and S. Kaneko. 1995. Post-breeding dispersal of the Japanese toad, Bufo japonicus formosus. Journal of Herpetology 29: 633–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lamoureux, V. S. and D. M. Madison. 1999. Overwintering habitats of radio-implanted green frogs, Rana clamitans. Journal of Herpetology 33: 430–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Lemckert, F. L. 2004. Variations in anuran movements and habitat use: implications for conservation. Applied Herpetology 1: 165–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Loredo, I., D. Van Vuren, and M. L. Morrison. 1996. Habitat use and migration behavior of the California tiger salamander. Journal of Herpetology 30: 282–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Madison, D. M. 1997. The emigration of radio-implanted spotted salamanders, Ambystoma maculatum. Journal of Herpetology 31: 542–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Madison, D. M. and L. Farrand III. 1998. Habitat use during breeding and emigration in radio-implanted tiger salamanders, Ambystoma tigrinum. Copeia 1998: 402–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Marsh, D. M., E. H. Fegraus, and S. Harrison. 1999. Effects of breeding pond isolation on the spatial and temporal dynamics of pond use by the tungara frog, Physalaemus pustulosus. Journal of Animal Ecology 68: 804–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Montieth, K. E. and P. W. Paton. 2006. Emigration behavior of spotted salamanders on golf courses in southern Rhode Island. Journal of Herpetology 40: 195–205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Muths, E. 2003. Home range and movements of boreal toads in undisturbed habitat. Copeia 2003: 160–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Patrick, D. A., M. L. Hunter, and A. J. K. Calhoun. 2006. Effects of experimental forestry treatments on a Maine amphibian community. Forest Ecology and Management, in press.Google Scholar
  30. Petranka, J. W. and C. T. Holbrook. 2006. Wetland restoration for amphibians: should local sites be designed to support metapopulations or patchy populations? Restoration Ecology 14: 404–411.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Pilliod, D. S., C. R. Peterson, and P. I. Ritsen. 2002. Seasonal migration of Columbia spotted frogs (Rana luteiventris) among complementary resources in a high mountain basin. Canadian Journal of Zoology 80: 1849–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Regester, K. J., K. R. Lips, and M. R. Whiles. 2006. Energy flow and subsidies associated with the complex life cycle of ambystomatid salamanders in ponds and adjacent forest in southern Illinois. Oecologia 147: 303–14.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Regosin, J. V., B. S. Windmiller, R. N. Homan, and J. M. Reed. 2005. Variation in terrestrial habitat use by four pool-breeding amphibian species. Journal of Wildlife Management 69: 1481–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Regosin, J. V., B. S. Windmiller, and J. M. Reed. 2003a. Terrestrial habitat use and winter densities of the wood frog (Rana sylvatica). Journal of Herpetology 37: 390–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Regosin, J. V., B. S. Windmiller, and J. M. Reed. 2003b. Influence of abundance of small-mammal burrows and conspecifics on the density and distribution of spotted salamanders (Ambystoma maculatum) in terrestrial habitats. Canadian Journal of Zoology 81: 596–605.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Richter, S. C., J. E. Young, R. A. Seigel, and G. N. Johnson. 2001. Postbreeding movements of the dark gopher frog, Rana sevosa Goin and Netting: implications for conservation and management. Journal of Herpetology 35: 316–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Rittenhouse, T. A. G. and R. D. Semlitsch. 2006. Grasslands as movement barriers for a forest-associated salamander: migration behavior of adult and juvenile salamanders at a distinct habitat edge. Biological Conservation 131: 14–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Rothermel, B. B. and R. D. Semlitsch. 2006. Consequences of forest fragmentation for juvenile survival in spotted (Ambystoma maculatum) and marbled (Ambystoma opacum) salamanders. Canadian Journal of Zoology 84: 797–807.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Schabetsberger, R., R. Jehle, A. Maletzky, J. Pesta, and M. Sztatecsny. 2004. Delineation of terrestrial reserves for amphibians: post-breeding migrations of Italian crested newts (Triturus c. carnifex) at high altitude. Biological Conservation 117: 95–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Seaman, D. E., J. J. Millspaugh, B. J. Kernohan, G. C. Brundige, K. J. Raedeke, and R. A. Gitzen. 1999. Effects of sample size on kernel home range estimates. Journal of Wildlife Management 63: 739–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Semlitsch, R. D. 1981. Terrestrial activity and summer home range of the mole salamander (Ambystoma talpoideum). Canadian Journal of Zoology 59: 315–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Semlitsch, R. D. 1998. Biological delineation of terrestrial buffer zones for pond-breeding salamanders. Conservation Biology 12: 1113–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Semlitsch, R. D. 2006. A paradigm shift in wetland boundaries. National Wetlands Newsletter 28: 6–8.Google Scholar
  44. Semlitsch, R. D. and J. R. Bodie. 2003. Biological criteria for buffer zones around wetlands and riparian habitats for amphibians and reptiles. Conservation Biology 17: 1219–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Semlitsch, R. D. and J. B. Jensen. 2001. Core habitat, not buffer zone. National Wetlands Newsletter 23: 5–11.Google Scholar
  46. Smith, M. A. and D. M. Green. 2005. Dispersal and the metapopulation paradigm in amphibian ecology and conservation: are all amphibian populations metapopulations? Ecography 28: 110–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Stuart, S. N., J. S. Chanson, N. A. Cox, B. E. Young, A. S. L. Rodrigues, D. L. Fischman, and R. W. Waller. 2004. Status and trends of amphibian declines and extinctions worldwide. Science 306: 183–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Trauger, D. L., B. Czech, J. D. Erickson, P. R. Garrettson, B. J. Kernohan, and C. A. Miller. 2003. The relationship of economic growth to wildlife conservation. Wildlife Society Technical Review 03-1. The Wildlife Society, Bethesda, MD, USA.Google Scholar
  49. Trenham, P. C. and H. B. Shaffer. 2005. Amphibian upland habitat use and its consequences for population viability. Ecological Applications 15: 1158–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Vokoun, J. C. 2003. Kernel density estimates of linear home ranges for stream fishes: advantages and data requirements. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 23: 1020–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Wassersug, R. J. and D. G. Sperry. 1977. The relationship of locomotion to differential predation of Pseudacris triseriata (Anura: Hylidae). Ecology 58: 830–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Windmiller, B. S. 1996. The pond, the forest, and the city: spotted salamander ecology and conservation in a human-dominated landscape. Ph.D. Dissertation. Tufts University, Medford, MA, USA.Google Scholar
  53. Wells, K. D., T. L. Taigen, S. W. Rusch, and C. Robb. 1995. Seasonal and nightly variation in glycogen reserves of calling gray treefrogs (Hyla versicolor). Herpetologica 51: 359–68.Google Scholar
  54. Worton, B. J. 1987. A review of models of home range for animal movement. Ecological Modeling 38: 277–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Worton, B. J. 1989. Kernel methods for estimating the utilization distribution in home range studies. Ecology 70: 164–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Society of Wetland Scientists 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tracy A. G. Rittenhouse
    • 1
  • Raymond D. Semlitsch
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Biological SciencesUniversity of Missouri-ColumbiaColumbiaUSA

Personalised recommendations