The importance of spatial scale for conservation and assessment of anuran populations in coastal wetlands of the western Great Lakes, USA

Steven J. Price, David R. Marks, Robert W. Howe, Jo Ann M. Hanowski, Gerald J Niemi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations

Abstract

Distributions of pond-breeding amphibians may be influenced by habitat factors at different spatial scales. We used anuran calling surveys to investigate the association between 5 anuran species and habitat variables measured within 100, 500, 1000, and 3000 m of sampling points at 63 coastal wetlands along the US shores of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. Stepwise logistic regression was used to create predictive models for each species at each spatial scale. Our results confirm the view that habitat variables at multiple scales influence frog distributions, but the strength of predictive models was significantly affected by the spatial scale at which habitat variables were derived. Remotely sensed habitat variables within a 3000 m radius were among the most effective predictors of occurrence for American toad (Bufo americanus), eastern gray treefrog (Hyla versicolor), spring peeper (Pseudacris crucifer), and green frog (Rana clamitans melanota). The western chorus frog (Pseudacris triseriata) was predicted most effectively by variables derived within a 500 m radius. For the most part, these anurans exhibited species-specific responses to habitat variables; however the suite of landscape-scale variables associated with urban land use appeared in all species' regression models. Associations with landscape-scale variables coupled with well-documented habitat needs at local breeding sites suggest that conservation and assessment of frogs and toads in coastal wetlands should consider the influence of habitat variables at multiple spatial scales.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)441-454
Number of pages14
JournalLandscape Ecology
Volume20
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2005

Keywords

  • Amphibians
  • Frogs
  • Habitat associations
  • Lake Huron
  • Lake Michigan
  • Landscape
  • Logistic regression
  • Predictive models
  • Urbanization

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