Age and growth in a European flagship amphibian : equal performance at agricultural ponds and favourably managed aquatic sites

Orchard, DG, Tessa, G and Jehle, R ORCID: 2019, 'Age and growth in a European flagship amphibian : equal performance at agricultural ponds and favourably managed aquatic sites' , Aquatic Ecology, 53 (1) , pp. 37-48.

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In human-modified landscapes, little is known about the influence of aquatic habitat types on the demographic structure of residing amphibian populations. In the present paper, we focus on a European flagship urodele species (the great crested newt Triturus cristatus) at the north-western range of its distribution, applying the method of skeletochronology to compare the ages of individuals retrieved from agricultural ponds with individuals retrieved from aquatic sites favourably managed for T. cristatus presence. Median ages ranged between 4.5 and 10.0 years depending on sex and population, and did not differ between the two site categories. Females were on average older than males at both agricultural ponds as well as favourably managed sites. Median ages at sexual maturity (3 years for females and 2 years for males) were 4 years below the most commonly observed age cohort in both sexes, suggesting that young adults regularly forgo reproduction. Mean body size did not differ between agricultural ponds and favourably managed sites. However, the former were characterised by a higher variance in body size, which is possibly linked to more unstable ecological conditions in agricultural settings. Taken together, our findings confirm that under suitable conditions agricultural ponds can harbour sustainable populations, an important finding for the broad-scale conservation management of T. cristatus which does not usually take population demographies into account.
Keywords: Demography Great crested newt Skeletochronology Triturus cristatus Urodeles

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Environment and Life Sciences > Ecosystems and Environment Research Centre
Journal or Publication Title: Aquatic Ecology
Publisher: Springer
ISSN: 1386-2588
Related URLs:
Depositing User: R Jehle
Date Deposited: 14 Jan 2019 13:41
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2022 00:32

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