Response of stream salamanders to experimental drought in the southern Appalachian Mountains, USAAuthor(s): Bryan Currinder; Kristen K. Cecala; Robert M. Northington; Michael E. Dorcas
Source: Environmental Entomology
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Southern Research Station
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Droughts act as significant disturbances to freshwater animals and their ecosystems. Given the impending threat of more frequent and persistent droughts because of global climate change, the lack of data on the responses of many aquatic animals to drought is a cause for concern. This study examined the body condition of the most commonly detected species (Desmognathus quadramaculatus) and abundance of commonly found species after two years of experimental drought in two first-order streams in the southern Appalachian Mountains. Our results indicated negative effects of drought on the stream salamander community. The body condition of D. quadramaculatus larvae in experimental drought transects was significantly lower than larvae captured in control reaches, which may have resulted from lower macroinvertebrate production in experimental reaches. Additionally, larval D. quadramaculatus abundance declined 47% in experimental drought transects, and Eurycea wilderae larvae and D. ocoee adults were 70% less likely to be captured in experimental stream transects. Our findings contribute additional evidence that stream plethodontids have little resistance to drought. With extended droughts resulting from climate change more likely in the future, more research is necessary to determine if reduced body condition, production, and lowered abundance have effects on long-term population viability.
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CitationCurrinder, Bryan; Cecala, Kristen K.; Northington, Robert M.; Dorcas, Michael E. 2014. Response of stream salamanders to experimental drought in the southern Appalachian Mountains, USA. Journal of Freshwater Ecology, Vol. 29(4): 579-587. 9 p. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02705060.2014.938135
Keywordsamphibian, body condition, climate change, drought, ecological status, habitat management, stream
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