Award Abstract #0454519
LTREB : A Long-Term Study of Metacommunity Dynamics of Amphibians and Their Predators


Abstract:

This grant continues our long-term survey work on population sizes of 14 species of amphibians and their predators in 37 ponds on the University of Michigan's E. S. George Reserve. This survey is providing a unique database on the long-term dynamics of amphibians over a large area. Such data are critical in light of the worldwide decline in amphibian populations and permit interpretation of trends in amphibian populations, and responses to factors such as climate change, introduction of exotic species, or emerging diseases. We additionally address a central current question in ecology; i.e. what is the relationship between local (pond) and regional (landscape) population dynamics of these species. This question is increasingly important as ecologists are asked to develop methods to take small scale studies of ecological processes to the larger scale dynamics of concern to conservation biology and management. In particular, current conservation strategies for freshwater wetlands essentially ignore the role of connections (movement of animals) among wetlands. The proposed research will improve our understanding of the demographic linkages among these habitats, and enable more effective management strategies.