EKU Faculty and Staff Scholarship


Biological Sciences

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Constructed wetlands can provide breeding habitat for amphibians and might offset the loss of natural wetlands. Although protecting natural systems is a priority, investigating and protecting constructed wetlands should also be included in amphibian conservation efforts. We surveyed 48 small wetland pools created from military tank training (i.e., tank defilades) on Kisatchie National Forest, Louisiana, USA. We conducted surveys monthly from April to October 2012 and March to September 2013. Across both years amphibian communitycomposition consisted of eight frog species, and the most commonly found taxa were Cajun Chorus Frogs (Pseudacris fouquettei), Southern Leopard Frogs (Lithobates sphenocephalus), and Bronze Frogs (Lithobates clamitans), with their larvae occurring in 85%, 81%, and 19% of pools, respectively. General linear models showed that Cajun Chorus Frog use of pools for breeding was best explained by absence of fish. The environmental factors that explained larval abundance differed between years but included absence of fish, temporary hydroperiod, open canopy, and a positive association with pH. Hydrology and conductivity best explained Southern Leopard Frog abundance. Bronze Frog presence was best explained by absence of fish and wetland slope. We did not capture other species in sufficient frequency for linear modeling, but their presence varied in response to hydroperiod, as shown by differences in similarity indices when comparing community composition between permanent and temporary pools. Our results highlight the importance of a mosaic of pool conditions and demonstrate that military activity, specifically creation of tank defilades, appears to benefit local amphibian species. Further research is required to examine larval survival and determine if any pools should be restructured to protect and create amphibian breeding habitat.

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Herpetological Conservation and Biology

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Biology Commons