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      Changes in behavioural responses to infrastructure affect local and regional connectivity – a simulation study on pond breeding amphibians

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      Nature Conservation

      Pensoft Publishers

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          Abstract

          An extensive and expanding infrastructural network destroys and fragments natural habitat and has detrimental effect on abundance and population viability of many amphibian species. Roads function as barriers in the landscape. They separate local populations from each other or prevent access to necessary resources. Therefore, road density and traffic intensity in a region may have severe impact on regional as well as local connectivity. Amphibians may be able to detect and avoid unsuitable habitat. Individuals’ ability to avoid roads can reduce road mortality but at the same time road avoidance behaviour, can increase the barrier effect of the road and reduce connectivity. We use an individual based model to explore how changes in road mortality and road avoidance behaviour affect local and regional connectivity in a population of Moor frogs (Rana arvalis). The results indicate that road mortality has a strong negative effect on regional connectivity, but only a small effect on local connectivity. Regional connectivity is positively affected by road avoidance and the effect becomes more pronounced as road mortality decreases. Road avoidance also has a positive effect on local connectivity. When road avoidance is total and the road functions as a 100% barrier regional connectivity is close to zero, while local connectivity exhibit very elevated values. The results suggest that roads may affect not only regional or metapopulation dynamics but also have a direct effect on local population dynamics.

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          Most cited references 36

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          Global Amphibian Declines: A Problem in Applied Ecology

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              The amphibian decline crisis: A watershed for conservation biology?

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature Conservation
                NC
                Pensoft Publishers
                1314-3301
                1314-6947
                November 13 2013
                November 13 2013
                : 5
                : 13-28
                Article
                10.3897/natureconservation.5.4611
                © 2013

                http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

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