Predicting breeding habitat for amphibians: a spatiotemporal analysis across Yellowstone National Park

Ecological Applications
By: , and 



The ability to predict amphibian breeding across landscapes is important for informing land management decisions and helping biologists better understand and remediate factors contributing to declines in amphibian populations. We built geospatial models of likely breeding habitats for each of four amphibian species that breed in Yellowstone National Park (YNP). We used field data collected in 2000-2002 from 497 sites among 16 basins and predictor variables from geospatial models produced from remotely sensed data (e.g., digital elevation model, complex topographic index, landform data, wetland probabililty, and vegetative cover). Except for 31 sites in one basin that were surveyed in both 2000 and 2002, all sites were surveyed once. We used polytomous regression to build statistical models for each species of amphibian from 1) field survey site data only, 2) field data combined with data from geospatial models, and 3) data from geospatial models only. Based on measures of receiver operating characteristic (ROC) scores, models of the second type best explained likely breeding habitat because they contained the most information (ROC values ranged from 0.70 - 0.88). However, models of the third type could be applied to the entire YNP landscape and produced maps that could be verified with reserve field data. Accuracy rates for models built for single years were highly variable, ranging from 0.30 to 0.78. Accuracy rates for models built with data combined from multiple years were higher and less variable, ranging from 0.60 to 0.80. Combining results from the geospatial multiyear models yielded maps of "core" breeding areas (areas with high probability values for all three years) surrounded by areas that scored high for only one or two years, providing an estimate of variability among years. Such information can highlight landscape options for amphibian conservation. For example, our models identify alternative for areas that could be protected for each species, including 6828-10 764 ha for tiger salamanders; 971-3017 ha for western toads; 4732-16 696 ha for boreal chorus frogs; 4940-19 690 hectares for Columbia spotted frogs.
Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Predicting breeding habitat for amphibians: a spatiotemporal analysis across Yellowstone National Park
Series title Ecological Applications
DOI 10.1890/10-1261.1
Volume 21
Issue 7
Year Published 2011
Language English
Publisher Ecological Society of America
Publisher location Ithaca, NY
Contributing office(s) Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center
Description 18 p.
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Ecological Applications
First page 2530
Last page 2547
Time Range Start 2000-01-01
Time Range End 2002-12-31
Country United States
Other Geospatial Yellowstone National Park
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