River regulation influences the composition and distribution of inland frog communities

Skye Wassens, M. Maher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Frogs are widespread through inland rivers and floodplains and are an important component of floodplain food chains. Despite this, studies of frog communities in inland river systems are limited and the impacts of river regulation on frog communities have received very little attention. Surveys for frogs, tadpoles and egg masses along with assessment of vegetation, hydrology and water chemistry were conducted along 10 km reaches of three creek systems in the Lachlan River catchment, a major regulated river in Australia's Murray-Darling Basin. A total of 23 sample sites were surveyed at locations above and below in-stream weirs as well as adjacent floodplain depressions. The hydrological regimes of sample sites were classified according to the length of time that they were known to hold water (water permanence). The sample sites fell into two distinct categories, 14 were classified as permanent and occurred upstream of weirs while nine were classified as temporary and were located downstream of weirs and in depressions adjacent to the weir pool. Permanent sample sites had a significantly higher percentage of dead standing timber and were deeper with less aquatic vegetation cover than temporary sample sites. Seven frog species were identified; there were no significant differences in species richness between permanent and the temporary waterbodies but the composition of frog assemblages differed significantly between them. This suggests that alteration to the hydrology of inland creek systems can lead to changes in the distribution frog species, with some becoming more common due to increases in the availably of permanent waterbodies while others decline due to reductions in the availability of seasonally flooded waterbodies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)238-246
Number of pages9
JournalRiver Research and Applications
Volume27
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2010

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