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Title: Assessing Changes in Amphibian Population Dynamics Following Experimental Manipulations of Introduced Fish

Author: Pope, Karen L.;

Date: 2008

Source: Conservation Biology, Volume 22(6): 1572?1581

Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication

Description: Sport-fish introductions are now recognized as an important cause of amphibian decline, but few researchers have quantified the demographic responses of amphibians to current options in fisheries management designed to minimize effects on sensitive amphibians. Demographic analyses with mark–recapture data allow researchers to assess the relative importance of survival, local recruitment, and migration to changes in population densities. I conducted a 4-year, replicated whole-lake experiment in the Klamath Mountains of northern California (U.S.A.) to quantify changes in population density, survival, population growth rate, and recruitment of the Cascades frog (Rana cascadae) in response to manipulations of non-native fish populations. I compared responses of the frogs in lakes where fish were removed, in lakes in their naturally fish-free state, and in lakes where fish remained that were either stocked annually or no longer being stocked. Within 3 years of fish removals from 3 lakes, frog densities increased by a factor of 13.6. The survival of young adult frogs increased from 59% to 94%, and realized population growth and recruitment rates at the fish-removal lakes were more than twice as high as the rates for fish-free reference lakes and lakes that contained fish. Population growth in the fish-removal lakes was likely due to better on-site recruitment of frogs to later life stages rather than increased immigration. The effects on R. cascadae of suspending stocking were ambiguous and suggested no direct benefit to amphibians. With amphibians declining worldwide, these results show that active restoration can slow or reverse the decline of species affected by fish stocking within a short time frame.

Keywords: amphibian declines, lake restoration, MARK, mark?recapture, Rana cascadae, trout effects

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Pope, Karen L. 2008. Assessing Changes in Amphibian Population Dynamics Following Experimental Manipulations of Introduced Fish. Conservation Biology, Volume 22(6): 1572?1581


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