The effects of site acidification on amphibian populations have been thoroughly addressed in the last decades. However, amphibians in naturally acidic environments, such as peatlands facing pressure from the peat mining industry, have received little attention. Through two field studies and an experiment, I assessed the use of bog habitats by the green frog (Rana clamitans melanota), a species sensitive to various forestry and peat mining disturbances. First, I compared the occurrence and breeding patterns of frogs in bog and upland ponds. I then evaluated frog movements between forest and bog habitats to determine whether they corresponded to breeding or postbreeding movements. Finally, I investigated, through a field experiment, the value of bogs as rehydrating areas for amphibians by offering living Sphagnum moss and two media associated with uplands (i.e., water with pH ca 6.5 and water-saturated soil) to acutely dehydrated frogs. Green frog reproduction at bog ponds was a rare event, and no net movements occurred between forest and bog habitats. However, acutely dehydrated frogs did not avoid Sphagnum. Results show that although green frogs rarely breed in bogs and do not move en masse between forest and bog habitats, they do not avoid bog substrates for rehydrating, despite their acidity. Thus, bogs offer viable summering habitat to amphibians, which highlights the value of these threatened environments in terrestrial amphibian ecology.
Additional Publication Details
Peatlands and green frogs: A relationship regulated by acidity?