Hydroperiod prediction models for isolated wetlands: A planning tool for climate change and amphibian conservation
Hydroperiod timing, duration, and frequency affect the reproductive success of many amphibian species, and is sensitive to altered weather patterns associated with climate change. We used 17 years of weekly temperature, rainfall, and water depth measurements of eight isolated ponds in Florida sandhills to develop predictive models of hydroperiod. We forecasted weekly pond depths (2012-2060) using downscaled climate data with the CSIRO Mk3.5 Global Circulation Model and A1B emissions scenario, and examined how forecasted hydroperiods might alter reproductive success of five anuran species, to illustrate model application to climate change scenario planning.
Rainfall and pond depth the prior week were significant predictors of pond depth. CSIRO Mk3.5-A1B forecasted frequent, short hydroperiods at most ponds, providing adequate reproductive opportunity for one species, but long periods of no opportunity for the other four. Our simple model is a valuable tool for examining how altered weather patterns or climate might affect hydroperiod at isolated, groundwater-driven ponds, with implications for amphibian populations. Climate change uncertainty highlights the importance of retaining multiple, hydrologically diverse wetlands to maximize the potential for successful reproduction by species having different hydroperiod requirements.