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We examined the relationships between anuran diversity and landscape features in the Upper Midwestern United States. Anuran relative abundance and species richness were measured using data collected by Wisconsin and Iowa state calling surveys conducted from 1990-1995. Landscape features surrounding survey points were determined using National Wetland Inventory and Wisconsin Wetland Inventory maps. We tested several hypotheses suggested by the literature. We hypothesized that the relative abundance and species richness of anurans that breed in ephemeral wetlands is positively correlated with the surrounding area of temporary wetlands and emergent wetlands. We hypothesized that the relative abundance and species richness of anurans is positively correlated with patch diversity and wetland edges, in the absence of local fragmentation effects. We hypothesized that the relative abundance and species richness of anurans is positively associated with forests but negatively associated with agriculture and urban areas. Our results show that the interspersion of different wetland types and the concomitant increase in wetland edge habitats were generally positive for frogs and toads and anuran abundance and diversity were generally higher in association with forests, especially forested wetlands. The presence of agriculture did not always depress frog and toad populations or diversity; some species were associated with agricultural landscapes. The two states differed in how anurans were associated with landscape features like lakes and permanent wetlands. We found that frog and toad relative abundance and diversity were lower when urban areas were present. Managers can use models like ours, generated from landscape analyses, along with range maps and population trend analyses to get a comprehensive picture of the health of individual species and groups of species. Our models could be applied to the landscape as a whole, and used to predict species relative abundance and richness at new locations. Our work provides a framework for future experimental and intensive research on specific factors affecting the health of amphibians in the Upper Midwest.
Additional Publication Details
Effects of landscape composition and wetland fragmentation on frog and toad abundance and species richness in Iowa and Wisconsin, USA [abstract]