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Site fidelity of the declining amphibian Rana sierrae (Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog)Author(s): Kathleen Matthews; Haiganoush Preisler
Source: Canadian Journal Fisheries & Aquatic Sciences 67 (2): 243-255
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Pacific Southwest Research Station
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DescriptionFrom 1997 to 2006, we used mark–recapture models to estimate the site fidelity of 1250 Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frogs (Rana sierrae) in Kings Canyon National Park, California, USA, during their three main activity periods of overwintering, breeding, and feeding. To quantify site fidelity, the tendency to return to and reuse previously occupied habitats, we used multistrata models (with water bodies as the strata) and potential function analyses. The probability of returning to previously used water bodies during all activity periods was typically greater than 80% and always greater than the probability of moving to other water bodies. Site fidelity models (with lake-specific movement transitions) were favored over those models that held movement transitions equal between lakes. Potential function analyses demonstrated that frogs were most strongly attracted to their original capture lakes rather than moving to the nearest available breeding or overwintering lake. Under current disturbances in high-elevation Sierra Nevada lakes (exotic trout, climate change), site fidelity is problematic because frogs return to lakes subject to drying or those with fish rather than dispersing to other lakes. Future recovery of declining species will need to focus efforts towards restoring habitats when animals maintain strong site fidelity even when their habitats deteriorate.
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CitationMatthews, K.R.; Preisler, H. 2010. Site fidelity of the declining amphibian Rana sierrae (Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog). Canadian Journal Fisheries & Aquatic Sciences 67 (2): 243-255.
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