Recruitment Patterns and Potential Climate Change Impacts on Three Florida Hylids with Different Life Histories

Abstract

Altered weather patterns associated with climate change are likely to adversely affect amphibian recruitment, especially for species dependent on ephemeral, geographically isolated wetlands for breeding. Future changes in temperature and rainfall patterns could affect hydroregimes (periodicity, depth, duration, and timing of water in wetlands) or adult breeding effort. We used 24 years of continuous amphibian trapping, weather, and hydroregime data to identify breedingto- metamorphosis periods (BMPs) and environmental factors affecting annual recruitment by three hylid species at eight isolated ephemeral limesink ponds in Florida longleaf-wiregrass sandhills. We used standardized climate metrics (Bioclim variables) to predict future precipitation, temperature and hydroregime variables, then used them to predict future recruitment in 2050 and 2070 under two emissions scenarios. We hypothesized that Hyla gratiosa would be more sensitive to short-term pond drying than H. femoralis or H. squirella due to its lower abundance and more specific habitat requirements. Hyla gratiosa recruitment was not explained by adult breeding effort and was more dependent on higher water levels during BMPs than for H. femoralis or H. squirella, independent of rainfall. In contrast, H. femoralis and H. squirella recruitment depended heavily on rainfall independent of pond depth and was positively associated with adult breeding effort. Models predicted moderate decreases in H. gratiosa and H. squirella recruitment by 2050 but projections were highly uncertain for all three species by 2070. Our findings highlight the importance of maintaining wetlands with diverse hydroregimes to accommodate species with different BMPs and hydroregime requirements. Proactive monitoring and conservation measures such as headstarting and creating artificial ponds may be necessary for these and other amphibian species that may suffer reduced recruitment under future climate change.

  • Citation: Button, Sky T.; Greenberg, Cathryn H.; Austin, James D. 2022. Recruitment Patterns and Potential Climate Change Impacts on Three Florida Hylids with Different Life Histories. Diversity. 14(2): 129-. https://doi.org/10.3390/d14020129.
  • Keywords: amphibian, anuran, drift fence, frog, hydroperiod, reproduction, warming, wetland
  • Posted Date: August 16, 2022
  • Modified Date: August 16, 2022
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