Man-made Mediterranean temporary ponds as a tool for amphibian conservation

Mediterranean temporary ponds (MTPs) are crucial breeding sites for local amphibians, a faunal group in decline in the Mediterranean mainly due to wetland destruction. Although the disappearance of lentic habitats in other regions of the world has been ameliorated by the creation and restoration of wetlands, these tactics remain untested in Mediterranean wetlands. To evaluate the amphibian colonization dynamics of artificial MTPs in the north-eastern Iberian Peninsula, we monitored two artificial MTPs (one in a highdiversity area and the other in a low-diversity area) over 2 years. We selected reference wetlands at each area, and amphibian communities of man-made MTPs were compared to those of reference wetlands. We found that, beginning in the first year, artificial MTPs were a valuable habitat for regional amphibian fauna. Posteriorly, we focused on the reproductive success of the natterjack toad, Bufo calamita. Using a drift fence equipped with pit-fall traps, we measured the abundance of both reproductive adults entering the pond and post-metamorphic individuals exiting the pond. Using mark-recapture methods, we analyzed the time and energy costs associated with reproduction in the artificial MTPs. We observed a highly variable colonization dynamics between sites, between hydroperiods, and within hydroperiods, and these dynamics often depended on meteorological factors. Our results suggest that even at a short timescale, native amphibian species such as B. calamita can benefit from wetland creation in the Mediterranean region ​
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