The Implications Of Density Dependence

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The purpose of this study is to document the implications of density dependence in crawfish frog populations in two different environments: restored prairie and disturbed farmland, to find out equilibrium population size is most sensitive to which life stage and to study whether the strength of density dependence varies with environment. We hypothesize that strength of density dependence will determine the equilibrium population size. Strength of density dependence can vary from weak to strong depending on the habitat quality. Habitat quality in turn will affect the equilibrium population density that the habitat can support. This knowledge of effects of environmental context on population can change the focus of conservation policy from protecting quantities of breeding ponds to maintaining their quality.
Materials and methods
Study Organism This section provides a brief description of the biology and life history of Lithobates aerolatus (see Vanessa for a thorough review). Crawfish frogs are known to be solitary and secretive animals inhabiting crayfish burrows for most of the year (Hoffman et. al., 2010; Heemayer et. al. 2012). They have a patchy distribution in the south-central United States (Conant and Collins, 1991) and are listed as state-endangered or rare species in six of 12 states in which it occurs (IUCN REDLISt).Crawfish frogs breed from March to April in ephemeral, temporary, and seasonal wetlands usually in open grasslands but occasionally in wooded
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