Community structure, species-habitat relationship and conservation of amphibians in forested vernal pools in the Georgian Bay region of Ontario.
2022, 7: 215-235.
Forested vernal pools serve an integral role in the recruitment of amphibians in glaciated northeastern North America. In south-central Ontario, vernal pools exist in relatively unimpacted forest networks, but the amphibian communities face uncertain challenges from anthropogenicinduced climate change. We surveyed amphibian larvae and collected measurements of habitat characteristics from vernal pools to collect baseline information on amphibian community structure and species–habitat relationships. Amphibian communities were influenced by hydroperiod length and canopy openness, and the relative abundances of early breeding amphibians were affected by changes in the structure of vegetation communities within pools. Our study suggests that, even across moderate ranges of breeding habitat characteristics, the structure of amphibian communities is dynamic. With anthropogenic-induced climate change leading to more droughtprone summers, the conservation of intact forests that support diverse wetland assemblages will be a necessary component of future legislation.