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Demography of common toads after local extirpation of co-occurring midwife toads

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Estimating demographic parameters like survival or recruitment provides insight into the state and trajectory of populations, but understanding the contexts influencing those parameters, including both biotic and abiotic factors, is particularly important for management and conservation. At a high elevation national park in Central Spain, common toads (Bufo bufo) are apparently taking advantage of the near-extirpation of the midwife toad (Alytes obstetricans), as colonization into new breeding ponds is evident. Within this scenario, we expected demographic parameters of common toad populations to be affected favorably by the putative release from competition. However, we found the population growth rate was negative in 4 of 5 years at the long-standing population; survival probability at the long-standing population and newly-colonised breeding ponds was lower than reported for other toads living at high elevations and the probability of recruitment was inadequate to compensate for the survival rate in maintaining a positive trajectory for either of the breeding ponds. We assessed weather covariates and disease for their contribution to the context that may be limiting the common toad’s successful use of the niche vacated by the midwife toad.

Affiliations: 1: 1Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, CSIC, José Gutiérrez Abascal, 2, 28006 Madrid, Spain; 2: 2US Geological Survey, Fort Collins Science Center, 2150 Center Ave. Bldg C, Fort Collins, Colorado 80526, USA

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2014-09-15
2017-11-19

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