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      Vernal pool amphibian breeding ecology monitoring from 1931 to present: A harmonised historical and ongoing observational ecology dataset

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          For 88 years (1931-present), the Mohonk Preserve's Daniel Smiley Research Center has been collecting data on occupancy and reproductive success of amphibian species, as well as associated water quality of 11 vernal pools each spring (February to May). Though sampling effort has varied over the dataset range, the size of the dataset is unprecedented within the field of amphibian ecology. With more than 2,480 individual species sampling dates and more than 151,701 recorded individual occurrences of the nine amphibian species, the described dataset represents the longest and largest time-series of herpetological sampling with paired water quality data.

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          We describe the novel publication of a paired dataset of amphibian occurrence with environmental indicators spanning nearly 90 years of data collection. As of February 2020, the dataset includes 2,480 sampling dates across eleven vernal pools and 151,701 unique occurrences of egg masses or individuals recorded across nine species of amphibian. The dataset also includes environmental conditions associated with the species occurrences with complete coverage for air temperature and precipitation records and partial coverage for a variety of other weather and water quality measures. Data collection has included species, egg mass and tadpole counts; weather conditions including precipitation, sky and wind codes; water quality measurements including water temperature and pH; and vernal pool assessment including depth and surface vegetation coverage. Collection of data was sporadic from 1931–1991, but data have been collected consistently from 1991 to present. We also began monitoring dissolved oxygen, nitrate concentrations and conductivity of the vernal pools using a YSI Sonde Professional Plus Instrument and turbidity using a turbidity tube in February 2018. The dataset (and periodic updates), as well as metadata in the EML format, are available in the Environmental Data Initiative Repository under package edi.398.

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          Most cited references 24

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            Critical Elements for Biologically Based Recovery Plans of Aquatic-Breeding Amphibians

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              Impacts of road deicing salt on the demography of vernal pool-breeding amphibians.

              Deicing agents, primarily road salt, are applied to roads in 26 states in the United States and in a number of European countries, yet the scale of impacts of road salt on aquatic organisms remains largely under-studied. The issue is germane to amphibian conservation because both adult and larval amphibians are known to be particularly sensitive to changes in their osmolar environments. In this study, we combined survey, experimental, and demographic modeling approaches to evaluate the possible effects of road salt on two common vernal-pond-breeding amphibian species, the spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) and the wood frog (Rana sylvatica). We found that in the Adirondack Mountain Region of New York (USA), road salt traveled up to 172 m from the highway into wetlands. Surveys showed that egg mass densities of spotted salamanders (A. maculatum) and wood frogs (R. sylvatica) were two times higher in forest pools than roadside pools, but this pattern was better explained by road proximity than by increased salinity. Experiments demonstrated that embryonic and larval survival were reduced at moderate (500 muS) and high conductivities (3000 muS) in A. maculatum and at high conductivities in R. sylvatica. Demographic models suggest that such egg and larval stage effects of salt may have important impacts on populations near roads, particularly in the case of A. maculatum, for which salt exposure may lead to local extinction. For both species, the effect of road salt was dependent upon the strength of larval density dependence and declined rapidly with distance from the roadside, with the greatest negative effects being limited to within 50 m. Based on this evidence, we argue that efforts to protect local populations of A. maculatum and R. sylvatica in roadside wetlands should, in part, be aimed at reducing application of road salt near wetlands with high conductivity levels.

                Author and article information

                Biodivers Data J
                Biodivers Data J
                Biodiversity Data Journal
                Pensoft Publishers
                14 April 2020
                : 8
                [1 ] George Mason University, School of Systems Biology, Fairfax, United States of America George Mason University, School of Systems Biology Fairfax United States of America
                [2 ] George Mason University, Department of Biology, Fairfax, United States of America George Mason University, Department of Biology Fairfax United States of America
                [3 ] Mohonk Preserve, New Paltz, United States of America Mohonk Preserve New Paltz United States of America
                [4 ] SUNY New Paltz, New Paltz, United States of America SUNY New Paltz New Paltz United States of America
                Author notes
                Corresponding authors: Alexis Garretson ( alexis@ 123456garretson.net ), Elizabeth Long ( elong@ 123456mohonkpreserve.org ).

                Academic editor: Franco Andreone

                50121 12193
                Alexis Garretson, Megan Napoli, Natalie Feldsine, Penelope Adler-Colvin, Elizabeth Long

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

                Page count
                Figures: 7, Tables: 0, References: 24
                Data Paper (Biosciences)


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