Site-scale disturbance and habitat development best predict an index of amphibian biotic integrity in Ohio shrub and forested wetlands

Wetlands
By: , and 

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Abstract

We determined the best predictors of an index of amphibian biotic integrity calculated from 54 shrub and forested wetlands in Ohio, USA using a two-step sequential holdout validation procedure. We considered 13 variables as predictors: four metrics of wetland condition from the Ohio Rapid Assessment Method (ORAM), a wetland vegetation index of biotic integrity, and eight metrics from a landscape disturbance index. For all iterations, the best model included the single ORAM metric that assesses habitat alteration, substrate disturbance, and habitat development within a wetland. Our results align with results of similar studies that have associated high scores for wetland vegetation indices of biotic integrity with low habitat alteration and substrate disturbance within wetlands. Thus, implementing similar management practices (e.g., not removing downed woody debris, retaining natural morphological features, decreasing nutrient input from surrounding agricultural lands) could concurrently increase ecological integrity of both plant and amphibian communities in a wetland. Further, our results have the unexpected effect of making progress toward a more unifying theory of ecological indices.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Site-scale disturbance and habitat development best predict an index of amphibian biotic integrity in Ohio shrub and forested wetlands
Series title Wetlands
DOI 10.1007/s13157-015-0638-2
Volume 35
Issue 3
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher Society of Wetland Scientists
Publisher location McClean, VA
Contributing office(s) Great Lakes Science Center
Description 11 p.
First page 509
Last page 519
Country United States
State Ohio
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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