Understanding how habitat structure at multiple spatial scales influences vertebrates can facilitate development of effective conservation strategies, but until recently most studies have focused on habitat relationships only at fine or intermediate scales. In particular, patterns of amphibian occurrence across broad spatial scales are not well studied, despite recent concerns over regional and global declines. We examined habitat relationships of larval and neotenic Pacific giant salamanders (Dicamptodon tenebrosus), larval and adult Pacific tailed frogs (Ascaphus truei) (hereafter 'tailed frogs'), and torrent salamanders (Rhyacotriton spp.) at three spatial scales (2-m sample unit, intermediate, and drainage). In 1998 and 1999, we captured 1568 amphibians in 702 sample units in 16 randomly chosen drainages in the Oregon Coast Range. We examined species-habitat associations at each spatial scale using an information-theoretic approach of analysis to rank sets of logistic regression models developed a priori. At the 2-m sample unit scale, all groups were negatively associated with proportion of small substrate and positively associated with stream width or elevation. At the intermediate scale, Pacific giant salamanders, adult tailed frogs, and torrent salamanders were positively associated with presence of a 46-m band of forested habitat on each side of the stream, and larval tailed frogs were positively associated with presence of forest >105 years old. Aspect was important for Pacific giant salamanders and larval tailed frogs at the intermediate scale. At the drainage scale, all groups except torrent salamanders were positively associated with proportion of stream length having forested bands >46 m in width, but further analysis suggests narrower bands may provide adequate protection for some groups. Population- and community-level responses at broad spatial scales may be reflected in species-level responses at fine spatial scales, and our results suggest that geophysical and ecological characteristics, as well as measures of instream habitat, can be used together to prioritize conservation emphasis areas for stream amphibians in managed landscapes.
Additional Publication Details
The influence of forest management on headwater stream amphibians at multiple spatial scales