Environmental drivers of anuran calling phenology in a seasonal neotropical ecosystem
Temporal variation represents an important component in understanding the structure of ecological communities and species coexistence. We examined calling phenology of an assemblage of anurans in the Gran Chaco ecoregion of Bolivia by deploying automated recording devices to document nocturnally vocalizing amphibians nightly at seven ponds from 20 January 2011 until 31 October 2011. Using logistic regression, we modelled the relationships between temperature, rainfall and photoperiod with calling activity. There was a distinct seasonal effect with calling activity concentrated in the rainy season with no species detected during the dry season from June until the end of October. Calling activity was positively and significantly correlated with photoperiod in 9 of the 10 species analyzed, but there were distinct species-specific relationships associated with rainfall and temperature. All of these species utilize ephemeral ponds as breeding sites, which can account for their reliance on rainfall as an important driver in calling activity.Two prolonged breeders exhibited similar seasonal breeding patterns across the rainy season, but differed in their response to daily abiotic factors, which might be attributed to the constraints imposed by their reproductive mode. Explosive breeders needed several days of rain to elicit calling. Two pairs of congeners had distinct species-specific relationships between their calling activity and abiotic factors, even though the congeners shared the same reproductive mode, suggesting that the reproductive modes vary in the constraints imposed on calling activity. The patterns observed suggest that calling phenology of tropical anurans is determined by the interaction of exogenous factors (i.e. climatic variables) and endogenous factors (i.e. reproductive modes).
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