Ann. Limnol. - Int. J. Lim.
Volume 48, Number 4, 2012
|Page(s)||355 - 362|
|Published online||29 October 2012|
Aquatic habitat use by amphibians with specific reference to Rana temporaria at high elevations (Retezat Mountains National Park, Romania)
1 University Ovidius Constanţa, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Aleea Universităţii, No. 1, 900470, Constanţa, Romania
2 “Emil Racoviţă” Institute of Speleology of the Romanian Academy, 13 Septembrie Road, No. 13, 050711, Bucharest, Romania
3 Institute of Ecology, Faculty of Sustainability, Leuphana University Lüneburg, 21335, Lüneburg, Germany
* Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 18 August 2012
Alpine areas are extreme habitats that require special adaptations and involve major trade-offs in terms of life history. Amphibians have the ability to adapt both their life history and developmental traits to alpine environments. Temperate amphibians depend on the quality and availability of aquatic habitats for reproduction. We explored the aquatic habitat used by amphibians in the alpine area of Retezat Mountains, Southern Carpathians, Romania. We surveyed 40 aquatic habitats in a 380 ha area delimited by mountain crests and drained by a steep valley. Each aquatic habitat was characterized using 10 environmental variables. Only three amphibian species occur at elevations above 1900 m, the most widespread being the Common Frog Rana temporaria. The Common Frog showed preference for breeding aquatic habitats, the variables of importance being altitude, solar radiation, water chemistry and grazing. Higher elevation and lower solar radiation decreased frog occurrence, while the impact of grazing favored the use of water bodies. Acidification is eminent in the area with pH dropping below 5 in 20% of the water bodies. Overall, amphibian occurrence in alpine area can be partly explained by the characteristics of aquatic habitats.
Key words: Alpine / Rana temporaria / Carpathian Mountains / reproduction / habitat use
© EDP Sciences, 2012
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