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Survival and recruitment in the population ecology of the endangered Bombina pachypus (Amphibia: Anura)

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Global amphibian decline is a subject of great conservation concern, yet often basic demographic information is absent, which prevents the understanding of population trends and the planning of effective conservation management. We analysed capture-mark-recapture data from six populations of the endangered Bombina pachypus in order to understand the relative contribution of survival and recruitment to population growth, and to assess if any differences exist among populations in terms of their population dynamics. We found that survival was rather high and generally constant among sites, and recruitment was low, with the exception of two single years at one site. Population growth depended on survival on all sites, except the years following high recruitment at one site. Annual population size was generally lower than 30 individuals, but in one site it was estimated to be larger than 50. Our findings suggest that juvenile survival is more important for population dynamics than recruitment from the larval to the juvenile stage. We also suggest that the low recruitment rates we recorded was a result of juvenile dispersal, and that when populations exhibited high recruitment it was due to occasional successful migration or local recruitment. This pattern could represent a way to counterbalance the risk of inbreeding in populations composed of few individuals, a common characteristic of populations of B. pachypus. Finally, we suggest that conservation measures for B. pachypus should be planned at the landscape scale, and should not be limited solely to the breeding site and its close surroundings.

Affiliations: 1: 1Via G. Marconi 30, 04018 Sezze (LT), Italia ; 2: 2Via C. Pisacane 13, 00012 Guidonia (Roma), Italia ; 3: 3Piazza D. Pagnoncelli 27, 00049 Velletri (Roma), Italia ; 4: 4Via del Cerreto 8, 56041 Castelnuovo v. Cecina (PI), Italia

*Corresponding author; e-mail:

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