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Biological diversity of a temporary pond herpetofauna in north Florida sandhills

Abstract

From 1985 through 1990, the herpetofauna of a temporary pond in an uplands longleaf pine sandhills community in north-central Florida was monitored. A drift fence completely encircled the pond. Animals were captured in pitfall traps and marked as they entered and exited the pond basin. I captured 16 155 individuals of 42 species (16 amphibians, 26 reptiles). The species richness, diversity (using Margalef's Diversity Index) and dominance (using the Berger-Parker Index) varied among years. Between 62.5% and 87.5% of the amphibian species and 65% to 81% of the reptile species were captured in any one year. Daily amphibian capture was positively correlated with rainfall, whereas reptile capture was either not correlated or weakly negatively correlated with rainfall. Hydroperiod duration was not correlated with the numbers of either amphibians or reptiles captured. Neither the amphibian nor the reptile community showed any trends in diversity or dominance indices during the course of the study, although both communities were dominated by a few species. However, the species responsible for community dominance changed somewhat as the study progressed. Assessing the results of this study is hampered by the lack of comparable studies elsewhere, expected natural fluctuations of amphibian populations, and a prolonged drought, especially during the latter stages of the study. The herpetological community at Breezeway Pond does not appear to follow theoretical predictions of community response to stress. Temporary ponds are important centres of herpetofaunal biodiversity in uplands sandhills communities. Long-term studies are needed to monitor the composition, structure, and functional interactions of their resident species.

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Dodd, C.K. Biological diversity of a temporary pond herpetofauna in north Florida sandhills. Biodivers Conserv 1, 125–142 (1992). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00695911

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Keywords

  • amphibians
  • reptiles
  • biodiversity
  • temporary pond
  • drought
  • Florida