Species richness patterns of amphibians in southwestern Ontario ponds



Abstract. In southwestern Ontario amphibian species richness (α-diversity) was investigated at 180 ponds from 1992 to 1994. Patterns of species richness were compared among regions and the relationship between species richness and local habitat and regional landscape variables was investigated. Patterns of incidence differed among regions, with species that use woodlands being rare in one of the regions. Repeated measures analysis of variance indicated that species richness differed significantly among regions but not among sub-regions nested within regions. Species richness did not change significantly over time and there was no region by year effect. Species richness was highly correlated with local variables related to fish predation and to regional variables related to forest cover. Multiple regression indicated that a combination of local and regional variables best accounted for the variance in species richness, but the amount of regional woodlands was the single most important variable. The pattern of species richness can be explained by historical deforestation as the primary process.