Meeting Abstract

P1.67  Wednesday, Jan. 4  Environmental factors influencing the selection of breeding habitat by the Carolina gopher frog, Lithobates capito MAGINN, K.E.*; KLAUS, J.M.; WELCH, A.M.; College of Charleston, SC; University of Central Florida; College of Charleston, SC kemaginn@g.cofc.edu

The Carolina gopher frog (Lithobates capito) is a habitat specialist with a limited range within the southeastern coastal plain of the United States, and it is therefore a species of conservation concern. In order to maintain viable gopher frog populations on a local scale it is important to identify and maintain suitable breeding wetlands within the limited matrices of upland habitat used by this species. To determine which factors influence the use of breeding wetlands by gopher frogs, we compare several environmental variables with the presence of L. capito as determined by a chorus survey. The calling census was conducted across 24 wetlands in the Francis Marion National Forest in Berkeley County, SC, and the occurrence of L. capito along with an estimate of the number of males heard calling from each pond was recorded. For each wetland environmental data were collected, including vegetation characteristics, water quality, forest management regime, and biotic community composition. Our goal is to determine if a relationship between environmental variables and gopher frog presence exists. Information on what environmental factors influence the use of breeding habitat by the Carolina gopher frog will aid wildlife managers in making informed decisions about which ponds to manage and how to best manage those ponds for the benefit of L. capito.