Thursday, August 6, 2009

PS 61-4: Cows for conservation: a landscape level analysis of arid land amphibian breeding site selection

Kerry L. Griffis-Kyle, Texas Tech University and Sean Kyle, Independent Contractor.


Our goal is to assess the opportunity of using earthen livestock tanks to promote amphibian conservation in arid rangelands.  We examine whether the spatial arrangement and proximity of cattle tanks can influence breeding populations of five species of amphibians using vocalization surveys and visual searches to identify species at breeding sites after rainfall events.  We detected Bufo cognatus, B. debilis, Scaphiopus couchii, Spea bombifrons, and S. multiplicata.  We analyzed distance and density isolation metrics up to 5000 m from the breeding site.


We found that most of the species responded to the landscape complement of breeding sites up to a buffer of 5000 m, much larger than most current studies address.  There is also a tendency for smaller species to respond to the landscape at smaller scales such as nearest neighbor distance and closer buffers; and larger species to respond at the larger scales.  Our results suggest that land managers can increase breeding habitat for amphibians within the context of livestock ranching.