First estimates of the probability of survival in a small-bodied, high-elevation frog (Boreal Chorus Frog, Pseudacris maculata), or how historical data can be useful

Product Type: 

Journal Article

Year: 

2016

Author(s): 

Muths, E.L., R.D. Scherer, S.M. Amburgey, T. Matthews, A.W. Spencer, and P.S. Corn

Suggested Citation: 

Muths, E.L., R.D. Scherer, S.M. Amburgey, T. Matthews, A.W. Spencer, and P.S. Corn. 2016. First estimates of the probability of survival in a small-bodied, high-elevation frog (Boreal Chorus Frog, Pseudacris maculata), or how historical data can be useful. Canadian Journal of Zoology, 94:599-606. DOI: http://doi.dx.org/10.1139/cjz-2016-0024

In an era of shrinking budgets yet increasing demands for conservation, the value of existing (i.e., historical) data are elevated. Lengthy time series on common, or previously common, species are particularly valuable and may be available only through the use of historical information. We provide first estimates of the probability of survival and longevity (0.67–0.79 and 5–7 years, respectively) for a subalpine population of a small-bodied, ostensibly common amphibian, the Boreal Chorus Frog (Pseudacris maculata (Agassiz, 1850)), using historical data and contemporary, hypothesis-driven information–theoretic analyses. We also test a priori hypotheses about the effects of color morph (as suggested by early reports) and of drought (as suggested by recent climate predictions) on survival. Using robust mark–recapture models, we find some support for early hypotheses regarding the effect of color on survival, but we find no effect of drought. The congruence between early findings and our analyses highlights the usefulness of historical information in providing raw data for contemporary analyses and context for conservation and management decisions.