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Data from: Network-scale effects of invasive species on spatially-structured amphibian populations

Citation

Manenti, Raoul et al. (2019), Data from: Network-scale effects of invasive species on spatially-structured amphibian populations, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.80gb5mkmx

Abstract

Understanding the factors affecting the dynamics of spatially-structured populations (SSP) is a central topic of conservation and landscape ecology. Invasive alien species are increasingly important drivers of the dynamics of native species. However, the impacts of invasives are often assessed at the patch scale, while their effects on SSP dynamics are rarely considered. We used long-term abundance data to test whether the impact of invasive crayfish on subpopulations can also affect the whole SSP dynamics, through their influence on source populations. From 2010 to 2018, we surveyed a network of 58 ponds and recorded the abundance of Italian agile frog clutches, the occurrence of an invasive crayfish, and environmental features. Using Bayesian hierarchical models, we assessed relationships between frog abundance in ponds and a) environmental features; b) connectivity within the SSP; c) occurrence of invasive species at both the patch- and the SSP-levels. If spatial relationships between ponds were overlooked, we did not detect effects of crayfish presence on frog abundance or trends. When we jointly considered habitat, subpopulation, and SSP features, processes acting at all these levels affected frog abundance. At the subpopulation scale, frog abundance in a year was related to habitat features, but was unrelated to crayfish occurrence at that site during the previous year. However, when we considered the SSP level, we found a strong negative relationship between frog abundance in a given site and crayfish frequency in surrounding wetlands during the previous year. Hence, SSP-level analyses can identify effects that would remain unnoticed when focussing on single patches. Invasive species can affect population dynamics even in not invaded patches, through the degradation of subpopulation networks. Patch-scale assessments of the impact of invasive species can thus be insufficient: predicting the long-term interplay between invasive and native populations requires landscape-level approaches accounting for the complexity of spatial interactions.

Methods

Data collected from 2010 to 2018.  The data are available also in the paper supporting information.