The snowpack in the vicinity of the Mount Zirkel Wilderness Area is among the most acidic in the western United States. We analyzed water chemistry and examined hatching success in tiger salamanders and chorus frogs at ponds there and at nearby Rabbit Ears Pass (Dumont) to determine whether acid deposition affects amphibians or their breeding habitats at these potentially sensitive locations. We found a wide range of acid neutralizing capacity among ponds within sites; the minimum pH recorded during the experiment was 5.4 at one of 12 ponds with all others at pH ≥ 5.7. At Dumont, hatching success for chorus frogs was greater in ponds with low acid neutralizing capacity; however, lowest pHs were > 5.8. At current levels of acid deposition, weather and pond characteristics are likely more important than acidity in influencing hatching success in amphibian larvae at these sites.
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.
American bullfrogs (Lithobates catesbeianus) are significant invaders in many places and can negatively impact native species. Despite their impact and wide distribution, little is known about their demography. We used five years of capture mark-recapture data to estimate annual apparent survival of post-metamorphic bullfrogs in a population on the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge in their invaded range in Arizona, U.S.A. This population is a potential source of colonists into breeding ponds used by the federally threatened Chiricahua leopard frog (L. chiricahuensis). Results from robust-design Cormack-Jolly-Seber models suggested that survival of bullfrogs was influenced by sex and precipitation but not body condition. Survival was higher for females (mean = 0.37; 95% , 0.72) than males (mean = 0.17; 95% , 0.49), and declined with reduced annual precipitation (mean = −0.36, 95% = −2.09, 0.84). These survival estimates can be incorporated into models of population dynamics and to help predict spread of bullfrogs.