Amphibian Connectivity in a Semi-Arid Environment
How does wetland ephemerality impact amphibian connectivity in a semi-arid system?
CGS-SER Nielson Research Excellence Award
Wetlands are critically important for supporting multiple ecosystem services including biodiversity maintenance. Wetlands in semi-arid systems are likely to become more ephemeral with future climate change, even when accounting for uncertainty in climate projections. Potential shifts to more ephemeral and highly ephemeral wetlands have major implications for primary productivity, wetland-dependent species (e.g., amphibians, waterfowl) and water availability for human and livestock use. Therefore, estimates of wetland persistence under future climates is a critical need. Wetland-breeding amphibian species are often indicators of ecosystem health and rely on ephemeral wetlands for persistence. In this project, I will assess amphibian connectivity in Baja, Mexico Sur for two pond breeding amphibians:Pseudacris cadaverina (California tree frogs) and Anaxyrus punctatus (Red-spotted toads).
I will use a landscape genetic approach, using genomics, to assess functional dispersal – movement followed by successful breeding.
I predict that species development time will be negatively correlated with wetland ephemerality of occupied habitats. I also predict that more permanent wetland will be hot-spots for functional connectivity for both species. This work will provide the basis of a Fulbright grant for sabbatical funding.
Murphy, Melanie, "Amphibian Connectivity in a Semi-Arid Environment" (2016). CGS Faculty Awards 2016. 7.