Survival and recruitment in the population ecology of the endangered Bombina pachypus (Amphibia: Anura)

in Amphibia-Reptilia
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Global amphibian decline is a subject of great conservation concern, yet often basic demographic information is absent, which prevents the understanding of population trends and the planning of effective conservation management. We analysed capture-mark-recapture data from six populations of the endangered Bombina pachypus in order to understand the relative contribution of survival and recruitment to population growth, and to assess if any differences exist among populations in terms of their population dynamics. We found that survival was rather high and generally constant among sites, and recruitment was low, with the exception of two single years at one site. Population growth depended on survival on all sites, except the years following high recruitment at one site. Annual population size was generally lower than 30 individuals, but in one site it was estimated to be larger than 50. Our findings suggest that juvenile survival is more important for population dynamics than recruitment from the larval to the juvenile stage. We also suggest that the low recruitment rates we recorded was a result of juvenile dispersal, and that when populations exhibited high recruitment it was due to occasional successful migration or local recruitment. This pattern could represent a way to counterbalance the risk of inbreeding in populations composed of few individuals, a common characteristic of populations of B. pachypus. Finally, we suggest that conservation measures for B. pachypus should be planned at the landscape scale, and should not be limited solely to the breeding site and its close surroundings.

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Survival and recruitment in the population ecology of the endangered Bombina pachypus (Amphibia: Anura)

in Amphibia-Reptilia



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    Location of the study populations of B. pachypus (circles), with the most relevant mountains (triangles) and villages (squares) in their surroundings. Population codes as in the text.

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    Selection of Pradel models including survival probabilities (Φ), capture probabilities (p) and recruitment rate (f) (the subscripts “t” and “·” denote time dependent and constant parameters, respectively) for five populations of B. pachypus (codes as in the text in the Pop. column). ΔAICc is the difference between the AICc of the best model and the one of the given model; AICc weight is the Akaike weight; K is the number of parameters; only models with AICc weights > 0.01 are shown.

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    Demographic parameter estimates for five populations of B. pachypus, with 95% C.I.: triangles represent per capita recruitment rates, squares represent survival probabilities (both referred to left axis); grey filled circles represent population size (right axis); recruitment rate and survival probability were constant at FP and PA, respectively. Estimates were obtained after model averaging from Pradel model and POPAN model as specified in the text. Population codes as in the text.

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    Selection of Pradel models including seniority probabilities (γ) and capture probabilities (p) (the subscripts “t” and “·” denote time dependent and constant parameters, respectively) for five populations of B. pachypus (codes as in the text in the Pop. column). ΔAICc is the difference between the AICc of the best model and the one of the given model; AICc weight is the Akaike weight; K is the number of parameters; only models with AICc weights > 0.01 are shown.

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