Demography of common toads after local extirpation of co-occurring midwife toads

in Amphibia-Reptilia
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Estimating demographic parameters like survival or recruitment provides insight into the state and trajectory of populations, but understanding the contexts influencing those parameters, including both biotic and abiotic factors, is particularly important for management and conservation. At a high elevation national park in Central Spain, common toads (Bufo bufo) are apparently taking advantage of the near-extirpation of the midwife toad (Alytes obstetricans), as colonization into new breeding ponds is evident. Within this scenario, we expected demographic parameters of common toad populations to be affected favorably by the putative release from competition. However, we found the population growth rate was negative in 4 of 5 years at the long-standing population; survival probability at the long-standing population and newly-colonised breeding ponds was lower than reported for other toads living at high elevations and the probability of recruitment was inadequate to compensate for the survival rate in maintaining a positive trajectory for either of the breeding ponds. We assessed weather covariates and disease for their contribution to the context that may be limiting the common toad’s successful use of the niche vacated by the midwife toad.

Demography of common toads after local extirpation of co-occurring midwife toads

in Amphibia-Reptilia



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  • View in gallery

    (Top and bottom right) Location of the studied breeding ponds Laguna Grande and Laguna Chica, within Guadarrama National Park in the Iberian Peninsula. (Bottom left) Temporal changes in the number of B. bufo clutches in these ponds from 1998 to 2011; Laguna Grande: grey bars; Laguna Chica: black bars.

  • View in gallery

    Model averaged estimates of probability of survival (A), recruitment (B) and population growth rate (C) for Laguna Grande (grey) and Laguna Chica (black). Estimates include standard error (SE) and 95% upper and lower confidence intervals.


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