Remarkable amphibian biomass and abundance in an isolated wetland

Implications for wetland conservation

J. Whitfield Gibbons, Christopher T. Winne, David E. Scott, John D. Willson, Xavier Glaudas, Kimberly M. Andrews, Brian D. Todd, Luke A. Fedewa, Lucas Wilkinson, Ria N. Tsaliagos, Steven J. Harper, Judith L. Greene, Tracey D. Tuberville, Brian S. Metts, Michael E. Dorcas, John P. Nestor, Cameron A. Young, Tom Akre, Robert N. Reed, Kurt A. Buhlmann & 4 others Jason Norman, Dean A. Croshaw, Cris Hagen, Betsie B. Rothermel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

150 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Despite the continuing loss of wetland habitats and associated declines in amphibian populations, attempts to translate wetland losses into measurable losses to ecosystems have been lacking. We estimated the potential productivity from the amphibian community that would be compromised by the loss of a single isolated wetland that has been protected from most industrial, agricultural, and urban impacts for the past 54 years. We used a continuous drift fence at Ellenton Bay, a 10-ha freshwater wetland on the Savannah River Site, near Aiken, South Carolina (U.S.A.), to sample all amphibians for 1 year following a prolonged drought. Despite intensive agricultural use of the land surrounding Ellenton Bay prior to 1951, we documented 24 species and remarkably high numbers and biomass of juvenile amphibians (>360,000 individuals; >1,400 kg) produced during one breeding season. Anurans (17 species) were more abundant than salamanders (7 species), comprising 96.4% of individual captures. Most (95.9%) of the amphibian biomass came from 232095 individuals of a single species of anuran (southern leopard frog [Rana sphenocephala]). Our results revealed the resilience of an amphibian community to natural stressors and historical habitat alteration and the potential magnitude of biomass and energy transfer from isolated wetlands to surrounding terrestrial habitat. We attributed the postdrought success of amphibians to a combination of adult longevity (often >5 years), a reduction in predator abundance, and an abundance of larval food resources. Likewise, the increase of forest cover around Ellenton Bay from <20% in 1951 to >60% in 2001 probably contributed to the long-term persistence of amphibians at this site. Our findings provide an optimistic counterpoint to the issue of the global decline of biological diversity by demonstrating that conservation efforts can mitigate historical habitat degradation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1457-1465
Number of pages9
JournalConservation Biology
Volume20
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2006

Fingerprint

wetland conservation
amphibian
amphibians
wetlands
wetland
biomass
habitat
habitats
fences
Rana
energy transfer
forest cover
salamanders and newts
breeding season
frog
frogs
persistence
land use
drought
predator

Keywords

  • Amphibian decline
  • Biodiversity
  • Drought
  • Land use
  • Wetland recovery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation

Cite this

Gibbons, J. W., Winne, C. T., Scott, D. E., Willson, J. D., Glaudas, X., Andrews, K. M., ... Rothermel, B. B. (2006). Remarkable amphibian biomass and abundance in an isolated wetland: Implications for wetland conservation. Conservation Biology, 20(5), 1457-1465. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1523-1739.2006.00443.x

Remarkable amphibian biomass and abundance in an isolated wetland : Implications for wetland conservation. / Gibbons, J. Whitfield; Winne, Christopher T.; Scott, David E.; Willson, John D.; Glaudas, Xavier; Andrews, Kimberly M.; Todd, Brian D.; Fedewa, Luke A.; Wilkinson, Lucas; Tsaliagos, Ria N.; Harper, Steven J.; Greene, Judith L.; Tuberville, Tracey D.; Metts, Brian S.; Dorcas, Michael E.; Nestor, John P.; Young, Cameron A.; Akre, Tom; Reed, Robert N.; Buhlmann, Kurt A.; Norman, Jason; Croshaw, Dean A.; Hagen, Cris; Rothermel, Betsie B.

In: Conservation Biology, Vol. 20, No. 5, 01.10.2006, p. 1457-1465.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Gibbons, JW, Winne, CT, Scott, DE, Willson, JD, Glaudas, X, Andrews, KM, Todd, BD, Fedewa, LA, Wilkinson, L, Tsaliagos, RN, Harper, SJ, Greene, JL, Tuberville, TD, Metts, BS, Dorcas, ME, Nestor, JP, Young, CA, Akre, T, Reed, RN, Buhlmann, KA, Norman, J, Croshaw, DA, Hagen, C & Rothermel, BB 2006, 'Remarkable amphibian biomass and abundance in an isolated wetland: Implications for wetland conservation', Conservation Biology, vol. 20, no. 5, pp. 1457-1465. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1523-1739.2006.00443.x
Gibbons, J. Whitfield ; Winne, Christopher T. ; Scott, David E. ; Willson, John D. ; Glaudas, Xavier ; Andrews, Kimberly M. ; Todd, Brian D. ; Fedewa, Luke A. ; Wilkinson, Lucas ; Tsaliagos, Ria N. ; Harper, Steven J. ; Greene, Judith L. ; Tuberville, Tracey D. ; Metts, Brian S. ; Dorcas, Michael E. ; Nestor, John P. ; Young, Cameron A. ; Akre, Tom ; Reed, Robert N. ; Buhlmann, Kurt A. ; Norman, Jason ; Croshaw, Dean A. ; Hagen, Cris ; Rothermel, Betsie B. / Remarkable amphibian biomass and abundance in an isolated wetland : Implications for wetland conservation. In: Conservation Biology. 2006 ; Vol. 20, No. 5. pp. 1457-1465.
@article{5f8f74adcadd464f81b99814ceb477c2,
title = "Remarkable amphibian biomass and abundance in an isolated wetland: Implications for wetland conservation",
abstract = "Despite the continuing loss of wetland habitats and associated declines in amphibian populations, attempts to translate wetland losses into measurable losses to ecosystems have been lacking. We estimated the potential productivity from the amphibian community that would be compromised by the loss of a single isolated wetland that has been protected from most industrial, agricultural, and urban impacts for the past 54 years. We used a continuous drift fence at Ellenton Bay, a 10-ha freshwater wetland on the Savannah River Site, near Aiken, South Carolina (U.S.A.), to sample all amphibians for 1 year following a prolonged drought. Despite intensive agricultural use of the land surrounding Ellenton Bay prior to 1951, we documented 24 species and remarkably high numbers and biomass of juvenile amphibians (>360,000 individuals; >1,400 kg) produced during one breeding season. Anurans (17 species) were more abundant than salamanders (7 species), comprising 96.4{\%} of individual captures. Most (95.9{\%}) of the amphibian biomass came from 232095 individuals of a single species of anuran (southern leopard frog [Rana sphenocephala]). Our results revealed the resilience of an amphibian community to natural stressors and historical habitat alteration and the potential magnitude of biomass and energy transfer from isolated wetlands to surrounding terrestrial habitat. We attributed the postdrought success of amphibians to a combination of adult longevity (often >5 years), a reduction in predator abundance, and an abundance of larval food resources. Likewise, the increase of forest cover around Ellenton Bay from <20{\%} in 1951 to >60{\%} in 2001 probably contributed to the long-term persistence of amphibians at this site. Our findings provide an optimistic counterpoint to the issue of the global decline of biological diversity by demonstrating that conservation efforts can mitigate historical habitat degradation.",
keywords = "Amphibian decline, Biodiversity, Drought, Land use, Wetland recovery",
author = "Gibbons, {J. Whitfield} and Winne, {Christopher T.} and Scott, {David E.} and Willson, {John D.} and Xavier Glaudas and Andrews, {Kimberly M.} and Todd, {Brian D.} and Fedewa, {Luke A.} and Lucas Wilkinson and Tsaliagos, {Ria N.} and Harper, {Steven J.} and Greene, {Judith L.} and Tuberville, {Tracey D.} and Metts, {Brian S.} and Dorcas, {Michael E.} and Nestor, {John P.} and Young, {Cameron A.} and Tom Akre and Reed, {Robert N.} and Buhlmann, {Kurt A.} and Jason Norman and Croshaw, {Dean A.} and Cris Hagen and Rothermel, {Betsie B.}",
year = "2006",
month = "10",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1111/j.1523-1739.2006.00443.x",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "20",
pages = "1457--1465",
journal = "Conservation Biology",
issn = "0888-8892",
publisher = "Wiley-Blackwell",
number = "5",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Remarkable amphibian biomass and abundance in an isolated wetland

T2 - Implications for wetland conservation

AU - Gibbons, J. Whitfield

AU - Winne, Christopher T.

AU - Scott, David E.

AU - Willson, John D.

AU - Glaudas, Xavier

AU - Andrews, Kimberly M.

AU - Todd, Brian D.

AU - Fedewa, Luke A.

AU - Wilkinson, Lucas

AU - Tsaliagos, Ria N.

AU - Harper, Steven J.

AU - Greene, Judith L.

AU - Tuberville, Tracey D.

AU - Metts, Brian S.

AU - Dorcas, Michael E.

AU - Nestor, John P.

AU - Young, Cameron A.

AU - Akre, Tom

AU - Reed, Robert N.

AU - Buhlmann, Kurt A.

AU - Norman, Jason

AU - Croshaw, Dean A.

AU - Hagen, Cris

AU - Rothermel, Betsie B.

PY - 2006/10/1

Y1 - 2006/10/1

N2 - Despite the continuing loss of wetland habitats and associated declines in amphibian populations, attempts to translate wetland losses into measurable losses to ecosystems have been lacking. We estimated the potential productivity from the amphibian community that would be compromised by the loss of a single isolated wetland that has been protected from most industrial, agricultural, and urban impacts for the past 54 years. We used a continuous drift fence at Ellenton Bay, a 10-ha freshwater wetland on the Savannah River Site, near Aiken, South Carolina (U.S.A.), to sample all amphibians for 1 year following a prolonged drought. Despite intensive agricultural use of the land surrounding Ellenton Bay prior to 1951, we documented 24 species and remarkably high numbers and biomass of juvenile amphibians (>360,000 individuals; >1,400 kg) produced during one breeding season. Anurans (17 species) were more abundant than salamanders (7 species), comprising 96.4% of individual captures. Most (95.9%) of the amphibian biomass came from 232095 individuals of a single species of anuran (southern leopard frog [Rana sphenocephala]). Our results revealed the resilience of an amphibian community to natural stressors and historical habitat alteration and the potential magnitude of biomass and energy transfer from isolated wetlands to surrounding terrestrial habitat. We attributed the postdrought success of amphibians to a combination of adult longevity (often >5 years), a reduction in predator abundance, and an abundance of larval food resources. Likewise, the increase of forest cover around Ellenton Bay from <20% in 1951 to >60% in 2001 probably contributed to the long-term persistence of amphibians at this site. Our findings provide an optimistic counterpoint to the issue of the global decline of biological diversity by demonstrating that conservation efforts can mitigate historical habitat degradation.

AB - Despite the continuing loss of wetland habitats and associated declines in amphibian populations, attempts to translate wetland losses into measurable losses to ecosystems have been lacking. We estimated the potential productivity from the amphibian community that would be compromised by the loss of a single isolated wetland that has been protected from most industrial, agricultural, and urban impacts for the past 54 years. We used a continuous drift fence at Ellenton Bay, a 10-ha freshwater wetland on the Savannah River Site, near Aiken, South Carolina (U.S.A.), to sample all amphibians for 1 year following a prolonged drought. Despite intensive agricultural use of the land surrounding Ellenton Bay prior to 1951, we documented 24 species and remarkably high numbers and biomass of juvenile amphibians (>360,000 individuals; >1,400 kg) produced during one breeding season. Anurans (17 species) were more abundant than salamanders (7 species), comprising 96.4% of individual captures. Most (95.9%) of the amphibian biomass came from 232095 individuals of a single species of anuran (southern leopard frog [Rana sphenocephala]). Our results revealed the resilience of an amphibian community to natural stressors and historical habitat alteration and the potential magnitude of biomass and energy transfer from isolated wetlands to surrounding terrestrial habitat. We attributed the postdrought success of amphibians to a combination of adult longevity (often >5 years), a reduction in predator abundance, and an abundance of larval food resources. Likewise, the increase of forest cover around Ellenton Bay from <20% in 1951 to >60% in 2001 probably contributed to the long-term persistence of amphibians at this site. Our findings provide an optimistic counterpoint to the issue of the global decline of biological diversity by demonstrating that conservation efforts can mitigate historical habitat degradation.

KW - Amphibian decline

KW - Biodiversity

KW - Drought

KW - Land use

KW - Wetland recovery

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=33747065657&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=33747065657&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2006.00443.x

DO - 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2006.00443.x

M3 - Article

VL - 20

SP - 1457

EP - 1465

JO - Conservation Biology

JF - Conservation Biology

SN - 0888-8892

IS - 5

ER -