Spatial and other design tradeoffs in a long-term monitoring program for stream salamanders
Reptiles and Amphibians
Sunday, Oct 14, 2012, 8:30 AM -12:20 PM
Sunday, Oct 14, 2012, 9:10 AM - 9:30 AM
, Evan Campbell Grant, United States Geological Survey Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Laurel, MD, Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Monitoring programs that are initially designed with the explicit goal to provide information useful for discriminating among future management decisions are more cost-effective and useful for agencies such as the National Park Service that are tasked with long-term maintenance of natural resources. To evaluate the effectiveness of a monitoring program for headwater stream amphibians in the National Capital Region Inventory and Monitoring Network, we surveyed 3 complete second- and third-order stream networks in the C&O Canal National Historic Park over 3 seasons for each of 2 years. The completeness of these surveys allowed us to evaluate seasonal dynamics in amphibian occupancy for four stream salamander species as well as design considerations such as transect length, placement within the network, sampling season, and sampling frequency. An important primary consideration was the potential scale and parameter of interest, in this case, whether park managers were interested in evaluating salamander occupancy of individual headwater branches or at a larger catchment scale, and what life stages were most important to inform future decision-making. If all life stages are important, spring and summer sampling is paramount, but more frequent sampling or longer transects may be required to increase detection probability. Transect placement considerations mostly depend on the parameter of interest, as some network locations have more stable occupancy and are less conducive to estimation of local colonization and extinction (which may make them suitable for monitoring depending on the goals of the monitoring program). Most importantly, monitoring should be directly relevant to decisions at the park level, and should be designed to provide the scale of inference needed to properly inform those decisions.
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