Eco–geographical characterization of aquatic microhabitats used by amphibians in the Mediterranean Basin

Benítez, M.  Romero, D.  Chirosa, M.  Real, R. 

DOI: https://doi.org/10.32800/abc.2017.40.0027

Abstract

Small freshwater ecosystems, whether natural or artificial origin, are aquatic microhabitats for many species and are particularly important in the Mediterranean region. This study characterizes the aquatic microhabitats suitable for amphibian reproduction in the Andalusian Mediterranean Basin and identifies the environmental and geographical features that determine the presence of different amphibian species in these water bodies. Geographical and environmental favourability models were performed to determine the relationship between characteristics of the microhabitats and species presence. The characteristics analysed were geographical location, external environment (climate and topography), surrounding conditions (connectivity and conservation), type of water body, water conditions, and water dimensions. Microhabitats located in the western and central part of the study area were geographically favourable for most species. In descending order, the most common environmental factors characterizing the microhabitats were typology, surrounding conditions, water condition, external environment and size of the water body. The most common variables in the models were the connectivity between water bodies and old wells, a frequent type of microhabitat in areas of traditional cultures. Management plans should take these results into account in efforts to preserve these habitats for wildlife and especially amphibians.

Key words

Water bodies, Environmental favourability, Freshwater ecosystem, Iberian peninsula, Conservation

Reception date: 21 IV 16  |   Acceptation date: 1 VIII 16  |   Publication date: 11 I 17

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