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Amphibians and Forested Wetlands. Washington Department of FISH AND WILDLIFE. Marc P. Hayes. Forested Wetland Amphibians. NO PNW amphibian studies have focused specifically on forested wetlands MAJOR DATA GAP:

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AmphibiansandForested Wetlands

Washington

Department of

FISH AND

WILDLIFE

Marc P. Hayes


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Forested Wetland Amphibians

  • NO PNW amphibian studies have focused specifically on forested wetlands

    MAJOR DATA GAP:

    Amphibian species richness and relative abundance among forested wetland categories virtually unknown


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Why the Data Gap?

  • Wetland studies exist, BUT

  • Estuarine and stillwater emphasis

  • Foci - Open (non-forested) habitats: estuaries saline; most easily sampled habitat in freshwaters

  • Biases: Amphibians rare in bogs

  • Ignorance of selected wetland types (e.g., sloping fens)


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Truth?

Amphibians

and

Forested Wetlands

Diverse in PNW


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Flowing water

Ian Britton

Uplands

Alfred University

or Stillwater

National Park Service

Amphibian Diversity

Based in part on use of reproductive habitat:


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Reproduction ONLY Part of Story

Reproductive

Habitat

Active-Season

Habitat

Overwintering

Habitat


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Forested Wetland Amphibians

• 19 (76%) amphibian species in Washington have a high likelihood of using forested wetland habitat for at least one of their life stages


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Forested Wetland Amphibians

• All 7 FFR amphibians in Washington have been documented using forested wetland habitat for at least one of their life stages


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FW/FFR Amphibian Species Richness

2/0

11/3

13/3

10/1

1/0

14/4

14/3

2/1


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Forest WetlandSystems

Forest Management

Vegetation

Geology

Climate

Hydrology

Light/Heat

Organic

Matter

Nutrients

Substrate

Physical

Habitat Features

Nutrient Availability

Biological Production

Amphibian Abundance

and Survival


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Potential Changesin Forested Wetlands

  • Watered area or hydroperiod

  • Succession

  • Organic storage or nutrient inputs

  • Exotic biota

  • Other possibilities

Leads to changes in amphibian abundance or species richness?


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Seep Area and Torrentor Seep Salamander Density


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Consequence of Watered Area or Hydroperiod Changes

• Decreases in watered areas may reduce:

available habitat (temporary?)

number of habitat units (local extirpation?)

• Increases in watered areas may:

increase available habitat

reduce distinguishable habitat unit

• Decreases in hydroperiod may:

eliminate longer-hydroperiod requiring species

alter refuge habitat quality for some species

• Increases in hydroperiod may:

add longer-hydroperiod requiring species

increase accessibility of fish and exotics


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Consequence of Successional Changes

• Increased shading of stillwater forested wetlands

(i.e., bogs and fens) may reduce diversity of

stillwater-breeding amphibians.

• Decrease shading may do the reverse assuming all

else is equal

• Increased shading of flowing water forested

wetlands may reduce the relatively abundance of

grazing amphibian

• Decrease shading of flowing water forested wetlands

may do the reverse assuming all else is equal


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Consequence of Organic Storage or Nutrient Changes

• Increased nutrient loading may accelerate

succession in bogs or fens, which could alter the

diversity stillwater-breeding amphibians

If a bog was pH limited (3.8 or below), such

loading may at least initially increase stillwater-

breeding amphibians diversity.

If a bog was not pH limited, such loading may

decrease the stillwater amphibian diversity.

• Increased woody debris/slash may favor stillwater-

breeding amphibians that use such for reproduction

or refuge


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Tailed Frogs (Ascaphus)

2 Species in Washington

All FFR Species

W. P. Leonard

H. Welsh

Life History:

Larvae: grazers

in flowing water

Juveniles and adults:

insectivorous, can use

aquatic or terrestrial

habitats

Adults reproduce

in moderate to high

flow habitats


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Tailed Frogs: Habitat Picture

Reproduction:

Streams

Active-Season:

??????

Overwintering:

??????


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Torrent or Seep Salamanders

(Rhyacotriton)

3 Species in Washington

All FFR Species

W. P. Leonard

Life History:

Larvae, Juveniles and

Adults: insectivorous,

use wet or saturated

habitats

Reproduction in low

flow habitats


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Torrent or Seep Salamanders: Habitat Picture

Reproduction:

Seeps??

Streams??

Active-Season:

Seeps, Springs

and Streams

Overwintering:

??????


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Lungless Salamanders

Van Dyke’s Salamander

(Plethodon vandykei)

FFR Species

W. P. Leonard

Life History:

Juveniles and

Adults: insectivorous,

use saturated or

dripping wet habitats

No larval stage

(direct development),

reproduction in moist

terrestrial site; female

parental care


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Van Dyke’s Salamander: Habitat Picture

Reproduction:

Moist LWD??

or Talus??

Active-Season:

Highly Wetted

Sites??

Overwintering:

??????


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Lungless Salamanders:

Dunn’s Salamander

(Plethodon dunni)

FFR Species

Matthew G. Hunter

Life History:

Juveniles and

Adults: insectivorous,

use moist stream

margin habitats

No larval stage

(direct development),

reproduction in moist

terrestrial site; female

parental care


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Dunn’s Salamander:Habitat Picture

Reproduction:

Moist LWD??

or Talus??

Active-Season:

Highly Wetted

Sites??

Overwintering:

??????


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Giant Salamanders

(Dicamptodon)

Cope’s Giant Salamander

2 Non-FFRSpecies

W. P. Leonard

Coastal Giant Salamander

W. P. Leonard

Life History:

Larvae, Juveniles and

Adults: insectivorous

Larvae: streams

Juveniles and Adults:

moist terrestrial

habitats

Reproduction: streams;

female parental care


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Other Lungless Salamanders

3 Non-FFRSpecies

Western Red-backed Salamander

Ensatina

W. P. Leonard

W. P. Leonard

W. P. Leonard

Larch Mt. Salamander

Life History:

Juveniles and

Adults: insectivorous,

use moist terrestrial

habitats

No larval stage

(direct development),

reproduction in moist

terrestrial site; female

parental care


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Ranid or True Frogs (Rana)

2 Non-FFRSpecies

Northern Red-legged Frog

W. P. Leonard

Cascades Frog

 W. P. Leonard

Life History:

Larvae: pond grazers

Juveniles/Adults:

insectivorous-carnivorous

Larvae: ponds

Juveniles and Adults:

moist terrestrial or

aquatic habitats

Reproduction: open

stillwater habitats


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Other Frogs and Toads

2 Non-FFRSpecies

Pacific Treefrog or Chorus Frog

Western Toad

Life History:

Larvae: pond grazers

Juveniles/Adults:

insectivorous-carnivorous

Larvae: ponds

Juveniles and Adults:

moist terrestrial habitats

Reproduction: open

stillwater habitats


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Other Salamanders

3 Non-FFRSpecies

Long-toed Salamander

Northwestern Salamander

R. B. Forbes

Rough-skinned Newt

Life History:

Larvae/Juveniles/Adults:

insectivorous-carnivorous

Larvae: ponds

Juveniles and Adults:

moist terrestrial habitats

Reproduction: stillwater

habitats


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Key Needs

  • Life-stage specific diversity of amphibians across forested wetlands types needs to be understood.

  • For FFR amphibian taxa, the biggest gaps in potential significant use of forested wetlands is as active-season or overwintering habitat

  • Selected potentially high sensitivity forested wetlands categories (e.g., sloping fens) need study to address their importance to selected FFR species (e.g., Van Dyke’s salamander).