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Web Ecology An open-access peer-reviewed journal
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Volume 2, issue 1
Web Ecol., 2, 47–56, 2001
https://doi.org/10.5194/we-2-47-2001
© Author(s) 2001. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Web Ecol., 2, 47–56, 2001
https://doi.org/10.5194/we-2-47-2001
© Author(s) 2001. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

  10 Sep 2001

10 Sep 2001

Modelling the extinction risk of isolated populations of natterjack toad Bufo calamita

T. Stephan, K. Ulbrich, W.-R. Grosse, and F. Meyer T. Stephan et al.
  • UFZ – Centre for Environmental Research, Dept. of Ecological Modelling, PF 2, 04301 Leipzig, Germany

Abstract. Many local populations of the natterjack toad Bufo calamita in Germany are endangered. Due to the fragmentation and destruction of natural habitats by man, toads have often been forced to switch to secondary habitats. The permanent existence of these habitats is uncertain. Habitat and area requirements have been investigated in various parts of Germany in recent years. Our study uses field observations from sites in Halle (Saxony-Anhalt) and List (Schleswig-Holstein) as a basis for analyses of the population dynamics under different environmental conditions. Deterministic trends of these populations are calculated with the help of a Leslie matrix consisting of average parameters for mortality and reproduction. For a more thorough analysis we use a stochastic simulation model in order to assess survival probabilities of local toad populations. This model also takes into account environmental fluctuations affecting mortality and reproduction. Using scenarios from different locations, a sensitivity analysis of the parameters indicates which management options are the most promising to preserve a population. Our results indicate that the mortality rates of juveniles and the availability of spawning ground have the greatest influence on a population’s survival. Consequently, habitat management should focus on these aspects. In addition, we investigate the risk of extinction for different reproductive strategies. Natterjack toad populations observed in the field actually follow a strategy with three breeding periods. We find that this strategy supports the survival of the population better than strategies with less periods, which are more likely to result in a complete breeding failure during one season.

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