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Vernal Pools & Amphibians

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Vernal Pools & Amphibians presentation by Mick Micacchion. 2011.

Vernal Pools & Amphibians presentation by Mick Micacchion. 2011.

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Vernal Pools & Amphibians Vernal Pools & Amphibians Presentation Transcript

  • Vernal Pools – World of AmphibiansMick MicacchionOhio EPA, Wetland Ecology Group
  • Vernal Pools• Forested and Shrub depressions in a forested landscape• Isolated hydrology – primarily surface and ground water• Seasonal hydrology – ephemeral – at least late winter (Feb/March) to early summer (June/July)• Provide important amphibian breeding habitat
  • Amphibian Habitat Needs• Woodlands – especially important within 200m radius• Seasonal hydrology - March-June at minimum• Fish-free – bass, sunfish, pike, bullheads• Leaf litter/ Woody debris• Other breeding pools nearby
  • Ohio Vernal Pool Habitat Summary• Forest or shrub habitat• Forest surrounding pools• Other nearby pools• Seasonal hydrology• Surface water and/or groundwater hydrology• Fish-free• Leaf litter and woody debris• A habitat we are losing in Ohio• Complex ecosystems, not easy to replicate
  • Vernal Pool Habitat in Ohio• A habitat that is disappearing at alarming rates• Many species that rely on this habitat are becoming rare• Those habitats that are remaining need to be protected• Development of additional habitat is critically needed to help reverse the trend
  • Ohio Monitored over 200 wetlands for amphibians
  • Amphibian Habitat Needs Salamanders 12.6 hectares 31.0 acres 1000 meters 200 meters Wood Frogs 314.0 hectares 775.9 acres
  • Spring Peeper.Pseudacris crucifer
  • Spring Peeper,Pseudacris crucifer
  • Spring PeeperPseudacris crucifer
  • Western Chorus Frog,Pseudacris triseriata
  • Gray Trefrog,Hyla versicolor
  • Gray Treefrog,Hyla versicolor
  • Northern Leopard FrogLithobates pipiens
  • Northern Leopard Frog,Lithobates pipiens
  • Wood FrogLithobates sylvaticus
  • Wood Frog DistributionFrom Davis and Menze 2000
  • Wood Frog Reproduction Ecology• Late winter/early spring, males advertise• Only breed for a few days each year• Communal egg laying• 800- 1200 eggs per mass• Larvae metamorphose in about 90 days• Males mature in 1 year, females in 2 years• Adults live 3 to 4 years tops
  • Wood Frog Egg Collection• Clear Creek Metro Park and other sites in Hocking Co.• Collected and moved 750,000 eggs• Collected by hand• Eggs iced in buckets with water and trucked• Eggs deposited same day
  • Repatriation Sites• 3 Metro Parks• Sites that once had wood frogs• 30,000-50,000 eggs per pool• Cluster eggs together
  • Success Criteria• Successful breeding – Large numbers of breeding adults in the pools – A like number of eggs, tadpoles and metamorphs• Healthy populations of wood frogs throughout the parks• Long-term viability of the populations• No human intervention required
  • Red-spotted NewtNotophthalmus viridescens
  • Red-spotted Newts
  • Small-mouthed Salamander,Ambystoma texanum
  • Small-mouthed SalamanderAmbystoma texanum
  • Jefferson SalamanderAmbystoma jeffersonianum
  • Spotted SalamanderAmbystoma maculatum
  • Spotted Salamander,Ambystoma maculatum
  • Spotted salamander A. maculatum response to % forest coverage 1Probability of A. maculatum occupancy Classification Tablea Predicted Ambystoma maculatum Percentage Observed 0 1 Correct Step 1 Ambystoma 0 17 3 85.0 maculatum 1 4 12 75.0 Overall Percentage 80.6 a. The cut value is .500 0.5 0 0 25 50 75 100 % Forest within 200m Slide by Deni Porej
  • Marbled Salamander,Ambystoma opacum
  • Tiger Salamander,Ambystoma tigrinum
  • Tiger SalamanderAmbystoma tigrinum
  • Tiger Salamander larva
  • Tiger Salamander larva
  • Unisexual HybridAmbystoma sp.
  • Unisexual HybridAmbystoma sp.
  • Four-toed Salamander,Hemidactylium scutatum Photo by Jim Harding
  • Four-toed Salamanderand eggs Photo by Mike Graziano
  • Identifying Potential Sites• Hydric soil areas where hydrology can be restored by minimal construction – breaking tiles – plugging ditches• Existing woodlands – In field or old field surrounded by woodlands or nearby (within 200m) – Located in existing woodlands • Restoration preferred • Creation if all other factors are good
  • Identifying Potential Sites• Existing populations of breeding amphibians – Close enough to migrate to new wetlands – Repatriations should only be a last gasp attempt • Extremely labor intensive • Low probability of success• Locate near existing vernal pools – Metapopulation dynamics – Breeding success
  • Construction Techniques MINIMIZE THE DISTURBANCE!• Keep engineering simple -break tiles/plug ditches• Move as little soil as possible• Work with existing landscape features – Use existing depressions – Work around existing mature trees• Stockpile and replace top soil, leaf litter and woody debris
  • Pool Construction• Keep slopes gentle - 1:15 > 50% of pool margins• Maximum depths of pools at 18-24” with occasional depths of < 36”• Develop hummocks and tussocks and work with existing features if present• Plant native vernal pool plants
  • Predicted “High Quality” Vernal Pool Locations