Because many anurans have well-defined breeding seasons and male anurans produce loud advertisement calls, surveys of these breeding choruses are believed to provide a dependable means of monitoring population trends. The Patuxent Research Refuge initiated such a calling survey in the spring of 1997, which uses volunteers to collect anuran (frog and toad) calling survey data. The primary goal of initiating the calling surveys at the Patuxent Refuge was to obtain baseline information on anuran populations, such as species occurrence, frequency of occurrence, and relative abundance over time. In this paper, we used the calling survey data to develop models for the "proportion of area occupied" by individual anuran species, a method in which analysis is focused on the proportion of sites that are occupied by a species, instead of the number of individuals present in the population. This type of analysis is ideal for use in large-scale monitoring programs focused on species that are difficult to count, such as anurans or birds. We considered models for proportion of area occupied that allow for imperfect detection (that is, a species may be present but go undetected during sampling) by incorporating parameters that describe detection probability and the response of detection probability to various environmental and sampling covariates. Our results indicate that anuran populations on the Patuxent Research Refuge have high rates of occupancy compared to areas nearby and that extinction and colonization rates are stable. The potential uses for "proportion of area occupied" analyses are far-reaching and will allow for more accurate quantification of data and better-informed management decisions for calling surveys on a larger scale. Copyright 2007 Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles.
Additional publication details
Evaluation of the status of anurans on a refuge in suburban Maryland