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Hydrobiologia

, Volume 537, Issue 1–3, pp 135–146 | Cite as

Breeding site characteristics regulating life history traits of the brown tree frog, Litoria ewingii

  • Bonnie Lauck
  • Roy Swain
  • Leon Barmuta
Article

Abstract

Past research has determined the habitat requirements of amphibian species predominantly from presence/absence studies. This study tested the hypothesis that relationships between breeding site habitat components, life history traits and fitness may provide a higher resolution of biological data relating to the habitat requirements of amphibian species. We tested this novel approach by using Litoria ewingii as our model species. We correlated larval and metamorph life history traits with habitat variables at 28 small to medium sized ponds within a commercially logged forest in southern Tasmania, Australia. To avoid larval mortality due to pond desiccation, L. ewingii laid eggs and metamorphosed earlier in smaller ponds. Snout vent length at metamorphosis increased with elevation and metamorphosis was earlier in less shaded ponds. Breeding ponds that maximised the fitness of L. ewingii were higher elevation ponds with reduced shading, steeper bank slopes and reduced pond isolation. The findings of the study equip land managers with a greater ecological understanding of ecosystem function in relation to specific species. The methodological approach has broad application to conservation biology where an awareness of the specific habitat requirements of amphibians is critical to successful ecosystem management.

Keywords

amphibian fitness forestry habitat life history 

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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of ZoologyUniversity of TasmaniaHobartAustralia

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