Skip to page content
USDA Forest Service

Research & Development Treesearch

Treesearch Home
About Treesearch
Contact Us
Research & Development
Forest Products Lab
International Institute of Tropical Forestry
Pacific Northwest
Pacific Southwest
Rocky Mountain
Southern Research Station
Help - We Participate  Government Made Easy

Global Forest Information Service

US Forest Service
P.O. Box 96090
Washington, D.C.

(202) 205-8333

You are here: Home / Search / Publication Information
Bookmark and Share

Publication Information

View PDF (1.3 MB)

Title: Weather-related effects on woodland vernal pool hydrology and hydroperiod

Author: Brooks, Robert T.;

Date: 2004

Source: Wetlands. 24(1): 104-114.

Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication

Description: Woodland vernal pools occur commonly throughout northeastern North America. These pools provide preferred breeding habitat for mole salamanders (Ambystoma spp.) and wood frogs (Rana sylvatica) and support an abundant and diverse macroinvertebrate fauna. Vernal pool hydrology, and especially hydro-period or duration of the wet phase, affects the composition and productivity of pool fauna. The hydrology of ephemeral wetlands is dominated by local weather conditions. In this paper, I report a ten-year record of the relationships between precipitation and evapotranspiration and water-level change and hydroperiod in four typical southern New England vernal pools. Long-term average precipitation is evenly distributed throughout the year in the Northeast; potential evapotranspiration peaks in the summer months and exceeds precipitation from mid-June through mid-September. This period of water deficit causes the period of maximum vernal pool drying. Vernal pool hydroperiods were shorter and pools dried earlier in those years with larger cumulative water deficits, especially when early spring ground-water resources were below long-term means and late winter snowpack was reduced or absent. Weekly water-level change in vernal pools was significantly related to precipitation and potential evapotranspiration, with precipitation having 2-5 times greater effect than evapotranspiration. Under climate-change predictions of more episodic precipitation and increased evapotranspiration, vernal pools would dry earlier in the year and remain dry longer. These changes would adversely affect the successful reproduction of pool-breeding amphibians and isolate the remaining productive pools.

Keywords: hydrology, hydroperiod, potential evapotranspiration, precipitation, vernal pools, woodland vernal pools

Publication Notes:

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
  • This publication may be available in hard copy. Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
  • Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat. During the capture process some typographical errors may occur. Please contact Sharon Hobrla, if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.



Brooks, Robert T. 2004. Weather-related effects on woodland vernal pool hydrology and hydroperiod. Wetlands. 24(1): 104-114.


 [ Get Acrobat ]  Get the latest version of the Adobe Acrobat reader or Acrobat Reader for Windows with Search and Accessibility

USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.