Highly variable rates of survival to metamorphosis in wild boreal toads (Anaxyrus boreas boreas)

Population Ecology
By: , and 

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Abstract

Life history theory suggests that long‐lived, pond‐breeding amphibians should have low and highly variable early life‐stage survival rates, but this theoretical expectation is often untested and the causes of variation are usually unknown. We evaluated the impact of hydroperiod, presence of a pathogen (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis [Bd]), presence of a potential predator (cutthroat trout Oncorhychus clarki stomias) , and whether animals had been reintroduced into a site on survival of early life stages of boreal toads (Anaxyrus boreas boreas ). We used a multistate mark‐recapture framework to estimate survival of boreal toad embryos from egg to metamorphosis at four sites over 5 years. We found substantial spatial and temporal variation in survival to metamorphosis and documented some evidence that monthly tadpole survival was lower in sites with Bd, without trout, and at permanent sites. Our results support theories of amphibian life history, aid in the management of this species of conservation concern, and contribute to our knowledge of the ecology of the species. Additionally, we present methodology that allows practitioners to account for different lengths of time between sampling periods when estimating survival probabilities which is especially applicable to organisms with distinct biological stages.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Highly variable rates of survival to metamorphosis in wild boreal toads (Anaxyrus boreas boreas)
Series title Population Ecology
DOI 10.1002/1438-390X.12044
Volume 62
Issue 2
Year Published 2020
Language English
Publisher Ecological society of Japan
Contributing office(s) Fort Collins Science Center
Description 11 p.
First page 258
Last page 268
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