Road impacts on abundance, call traits, and body size of rainforest frogs in northeast Australia

Hoskin, Conrad J., and Goosem, Miriam W. (2010) Road impacts on abundance, call traits, and body size of rainforest frogs in northeast Australia. Ecology and Society, 15 (3). pp. 1-16.

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Abstract

Frogs are potentially sensitive indicators of road impacts, with studies indicating particular susceptibility to road mortality. Calling, i.e., breeding, behavior could also be affected by traffic noise. We investigated effects on frog abundance and calling behavior where a busy highway crosses rainforest stream breeding habitat in northeast Australia. Frog abundance was repeatedly surveyed along five stream transects during a summer breeding season. Abundance of two species, Litoria rheocola and Austrochaperina pluvialis, increased significantly with perpendicular distance from the road along two transects. No trends in abundance were detected for A. pluvialis on two other transects where it was common, or for Litoria serrata on one transect where abundance was sufficient for analysis. Both species with lowered abundance near the road, L. rheocola and A. pluvialis, are rare in road kill statistics along this highway, suggesting road mortality is not the cause of reduced frog abundance near the road. We postulate that lowered abundance may reflect traffic noise effects. We analyzed calls of the International Union for Conservation of Nature endangered species L. rheocola along the one stream transect on which it was common. We found significant trends in two call traits over a very fine scale: both call rate and dominant frequency were significantly higher closer to the road. Furthermore, males were significantly smaller closer to the road. These call and body size trends most likely reflect road impacts, but resolving these is complicated by correlations between traits. Potential mechanisms, effects on fitness, and management recommendations to mitigate the impacts of roads on frogs are outlined.

Item ID: 11913
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: call frequency; call masking; Litoria rheocola; road kill; stream; traffic noise
ISSN: 1708-3087
Funders: Queensland Transport and Main Roads, Australian Government's Marine and Tropical Sciences Reserach Facility
Projects and Grants: Impacts of urbanisation on North Queensland, Nocturnal Noise Impacts - Kuranda Range Road Upgrade Project
Date Deposited: 15 Sep 2010 22:44
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050206 Environmental Monitoring @ 25%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050211 Wildlife and Habitat Management @ 25%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960504 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Environments @ 40%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9613 Remnant Vegetation and Protected Conservation Areas > 961306 Remnant Vegetation and Protected Conservation Areas in Forest and Woodlands Environments @ 30%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960806 Forest and Woodlands Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 30%
Citation Count from Web of Science Web of Science 7
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