Correlates of Waterbody Characteristics and the Occurrence or Diversity of Larval Amphibians in Central Ontario, Canada
Watershed acidification and poor water quality can deleteriously affect amphibian populations. Between 1990 and 2008, we sampled 333 small, permanent (inundated year round) waterbodies that drain forested areas in the Algoma, Muskoka and Sudbury regions of central Ontario, Canada to determine whether water chemistry parameters, fish presence, and waterbody area and depth predict amphibian presence or diversity. Amphibians were present in some low-pH waterbodies, contrasting earlier studies, and generally water chemistry was not a strong indicator of amphibian presence or diversity in central Ontario. We suspect that other biotic and abiotic factors have a stronger effect on amphibian presence, and that the relationships between chemical and physical attributes and amphibian presence are complex. Future research should focus on long-term habitat change in central Ontario waterbodies to determine how watershed degradation has affected amphibians.
KeywordsAcid rain pH Water chemistry Amphibian Habitat
We thank Dr. Francis Cook and Ross MacCulloch for amphibian species identifications, Environment Canada for water analyses, Don McNicol and numerous field assistants for assistance with the field work, and Elyse Howat for the map. Financial support was provided by Environment Canada and Acadia University. We thank anonymous referees and the BECT Editorial Board for insightful comments on an earlier version of this manuscript.
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