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Effects of Fire History on Amphibian and Reptile Assemblages in Rosemary Scrub

Kyle G. Ashton and Anna C. S. Knipps
Journal of Herpetology
Vol. 45, No. 4 (December 2011), pp. 497-503
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41415324
Page Count: 7
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Effects of Fire History on Amphibian and Reptile Assemblages in Rosemary Scrub
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Abstract

Florida scrub is a fire-maintained ecosystem with a high concentration of endemic and imperiled species. To assist in the conservation of these taxa, we evaluated how communities and populations of amphibians and reptiles varied with fire history in rosemary (Ceratiola ericoides) scrub. We calculated species richness, evenness, total abundance, and individual species abundance for all amphibians and reptiles captured from May through August 2003 and May 2004 at 12 rosemary scrub sites in Highlands County, Florida, that differed in fire history (time since last fire, TSF). Vegetation structure (bare ground and canopy cover) varied polynomially with TSF, with intermediate TSF sites most open and long-unburned sites least open. Species richness, evenness, and total abundance did not vary with fire history. At the species level, only two species, Plestiodon reynoldsi and Aspidoscelis sexlineata, showed significant relationships with TSF: P. reynoldsi was most common in least open, longest-unburned areas and least common in most open, intermediately burned areas, whereas A. sexlineata was most common in most open and intermediately burned areas and least common in recently and long-unburned areas. The close relationship of abundance to vegetation structure suggests that indirect fire-induced changes may be more important than fire per se. In sum, amphibian and reptile communities did not vary with fire history; however abundances of some species did.

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