Assessment of the status of threatened herpetofauna following fire in sub alpine habitat at Lake Mountain and Mount Bullfight, near Marysville, north-east Victoria



Download 0.92 Mb.
Page8/9
Date conversion16.05.2016
Size0.92 Mb.
1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9

4.2 Lizard surveys


Surveys conducted in February 2010 at Lake Mountain located only two Alpine Bog Skinks (Clemann and Antrobus 2010). In the second season of surveying we recorded 57 Alpine Bog Skinks. This dramatic difference is most likely attributed to the improved conditions and use of an additional survey technique (tiles). The recovering vegetation provided habitat allowing breeding, shelter from predators and expansion of range from the tiny amounts of suitable habitat that remained immediately after the fire (Clemann and Antrobus 2010). The use of tiles may have improved detection of this species. Alpine Bog Skinks were found at all tile transects at Lake Mountain, and the presence of gravid females and juveniles indicated that breeding was occurring.

The presence of Alpine Bog Skinks has not been confirmed at at Mount Bullfight NCR. One specimen of Pseudemoia was collected by Maggie Haines (Museum Victoria) during this project. This specimen displayed colouration and patterning that was intermediate between the Alpine Bog Skink and Southern Grass Skink, and will be identified through the use of molecular analysis. The Mountain Skink was not recorded during surveys in either season of this study at either Lake Mountain or Mount Bullfight NCR. Whilst this may indicate that this species does not occur in these locations, it is also plausible that surveys were not conducted within microhabitats occupied by this species. Several species closely related to the Mountain Skink are only found by locating their burrow systems (Chappel 2003).


4.3 Management implications


The introduction or spread of the Amphibian Chytrid Fungus remains the greatest threat to the Alpine Tree Frog at Mount Bullfight NCR. We recommend continued monitoring of the status of the fungus at this site. All staff accessing the site must adhere to strict hygiene protocols to minimise the risks of introducing the fungus to this site. Similarly, contractors completing work of any kind at Mount Bullfight NCR should adhere to strict fungus hygiene protocols, and any disturbance to existing conditions should be minimised wherever possible (Phillott et al. 2010).

Any site management activities increase the risk of introducing Amphibian Chytrid Fungus to Mount Bullfight NCR. Consequently, we recommend minimising such activities where possible, and the application of strict hygiene protocols when activities must occur. Weed control would be best managed by preventing weeds from entering the bog, rather than conducting weed control within the bog itself. If weed control is undertaken within or near these habitats, non-chemical control measures are strongly advised. Similarly, predator control increases the likelihood of introducing Amphibian Chytrid Fungus. The impact of feral predators on threatened upland herpetofauna has not been quantified, but is unlikely to represent a threat of the magnitude of chytridiomycosis. We recommend that any predator control operations are maintained, but that work immediately near the bog is avoided and all contractors adhere to the hygiene protocols.

Evidence of deer presence was found at both the upper and lower bogs at Mount Bullfight NCR, and two Sambar Deer Cervus unicolour were observed at Site L8 during night surveys at Lake Mountain. Feral deer creating wallows damages waterbodies and the habitat of both the Alpine Bog Skink and Alpine Tree Frog. Deer may be a vector for the Amphibian Chytrid Fungus. Lowering the number of deer at both study sites will be beneficial to frogs in these areas, but there is a risk of introducing the Amphibian Chytrid Fungus to Mount Bullfight NCR during control activities. If deer control is carried out, we recommend that all workers adhere to the hygiene protocols and that control activities do not take place within the bog.

Impacts on habitat due to recreational activities or ski resort management that cause physical or chemical disturbance to water or native vegetation should be avoided. This includes activities associated with the National Bicentennial horse trail at Mount Bullfight NCR. Horses and people should be encouraged to remain on the trail, with no overnight camping permitted near the bogs.

5 Future directions and recommendations

We recommend that any disturbance to the existing conditions at Mount Bullfight NCR is minimised. The introduction of new management activities such as road works, are likely to increase the risk of introducing Amphibian Chytrid Fungus into the area.

We recommend monitoring the Alpine Tree Frog population at Mount Bullfight every two years, with this monitoring to include further testing for the Amphibian Chytrid Fungus. All scientists and contractors who enter the bog are to adhere to strict hygiene protocols (Phillott et al. 2010). If the Amphibian Chytrid Fungus is detected, we recommend that an intense monitoring program be implemented to document the effect on the frog populations at this site.

If future frog surveying is conducted at the upper bogs at Mount Bullfight NCR, frog call recorders should be considered as a means to assess the calling size of the populations. We also recommend that genetic samples of Litoria ewingii-complex frogs (including Alpine Tree Frogs) be collected for molecular analyses in order to confirm the taxonomic status of these frogs.

The tiles deployed at Lake Mountain and Mount Bullfight NCR can be used for future monitoring. Once the taxonomic status of Pseudemoia species at both Lake Mountain and Mount Bullfight NCR is established, monitoring of significant species may be warranted. Future surveys for Alpine Bog Skinks at Mount Bullfight NCR are recommended.
References

Alpine Resorts Commission and Department of Conservation and Environment (1990). Draft Lake Mountain Management and Development Plan. Alpine Resorts Commission and Department of Conservation and Environment, Victoria.

Barker, J., Grigg, G.C. and Tyler, M.J. (1995). A Field Guide to Australian Frogs. Surrey Beatty and Sons, Chipping Norton, New South Wales.

Berger, L., Speare, R. and Hyatt, A. (1999). Chytrid fungi and amphibian declines: overview, implications and future directions. In: Declines and Disappearances of Australian Frogs. Ed. A. Campbell. Pp. 23-33. Biodiversity Group, Environment Australia, Canberra, ACT.

BOM (2009). The Exceptional January–February 2009 Heatwave in South-Eastern Australia. National Climate Centre, Bureau of Meteorology, Special Climate Statement 17.

Chapple, D.G. (2003). Ecology, life-history and behaviour in the Australian scincid genus Egernia, with comments on the evolution of complex sociality in lizards. Herpetological Monographs 17, 145-180.

Clemann, N. (in prep.). Draft Action Statement for the Alpine Tree Frog Litoria verreauxii alpina. Department of Sustainability and Environment, Victoria.

Clemann, N. (2002). Notes on the threatened endemic Victorian Alpine Bog Skink Pseudemoia cryodroma (Hutchinson and Donnellan 1992) (Scincidae: Lygosominae): a range extension, habitat preferences and identification difficulties. Herpetofauna 32 (1), 49-53.

Clemann, N. (2011). Survey and monitoring of threatened Victorian alpine herpetofauna: annual report for the 2009–2010 season. Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research, Department of Sustainability and Environment, Heidelberg.

Clemann, N. and Antrobus, J. (2010). The status of the threatened Alpine Bog Skink Pseudemoia cryodroma after the Black Saturday fires at Lake Mountain and Mount Bullfight Nature Conservation Reserve. Department of Sustainability and Environment, Heidelberg, Victoria.

Clemann, N. and Gillespie, G.R. (2007). Draft National Recovery Plan for the Alpine Tree Frog Litoria verreauxii alpina. Department of Environment and Water Resources, Canberra.

Clemann, N., Howard, K. and Scroggie, M. (2010). The status of threatened herpetofauna after the Black Saturday fires in the Dargo – White Timber Spur are: a report on the first season’s field surveys. Department of Sustainability and Environment, Heidelberg, Victoria.

Clemann, N., Hunter, D., Scroggie, M., Pietsch, R. and Hollis, G. (2009). Vanishing frogs: prevalence of the Amphibian Chytrid Fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) in key populations of frog species in the Australian Alps. Unpublished report to the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, Canberra.

Donnellan, S.C., Hutchinson, M.N., Dempsey, P. and Osborne, W. (2002). Systematics of the Egernia whitii species group (Lacertilia : Scincidae) in south-eastern Australia. Australian Journal of Zoology 50, 439-459.

DSE (2007). Advisory list of threatened vertebrate fauna in Victoria – 2007. Department of Sustainability and Environment, East Melbourne.

Hargreaves, G.R. (1977). The Ecology of Plant Communities at Echo Flat, Lake Mountain, Victoria. Unpublished Masters Thesis, The University of Melbourne.

Howard, K., Antrobus, J. and Clemann, N. (2010). The status of the threatened Alpine Tree Frog Litoria verreauxii alpina after the Black Saturday fires at Lake Mountain and Mount Bullfight Nature Conservation Reserve. Department of Sustainability and Environment, Heidelberg.

Hunter, D., Pietsch, R., Clemann, N., Scroggie, M., Hollis, G. and Marantelli, G. (2008). Prevalence of the Amphibian Chytrid Fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis). In: Populations of two frog species in the Australian Alps. New South Wales Department of Environment and Climate Change.

Hutchinson, M.N. and Donnellan, S.C. (1992). Taxonomy and genetic variation in the Australian lizards of the genus Pseudemoia (Scincidae: Lygosominae). Journal of Natural History 26, 215-264.

Hyatt, A.D., Boyle, D.G., Olsen, V., Boyle, D.B, Berger, L., Obendorf, D., Dalton, A., Kriger, K., Hero, M., Hines, H., Phillot, R., Campbell, R., Marantelli, G., Gleason, F. and Colling, A. (2007). Diagnostic assays and sampling protocols for the detection of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 73, 175-192.

Osborne, W., Hunter, D. and Hollis, G. (1999). Population declines and range contraction in Australian alpine frogs. In: Declines and Disappearances of Australian Frogs. Ed. A. Campbell. Pp. 145-157. Biodiversity Group, Environment Australia, Canberra, ACT.

Phillott, A.D., Speare, R., Hine, H.B., Skerratt, L.F., Meyer, E., McDonald, K.R., Cashins, S.D., Mendez, D. and Berger, L. (2010). Minimising exposure of amphibians to pathogens during field studies. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms Reprint 2010.

Parks Victoria (2002). Yarra Ranges National Park Management Plan. Parks Victoria, Melbourne.

Smith, K.L., Hale, J.M., Austin, J.J., Melville, J. (2011). Isolation and characterization of microsatellite markers for the Litoria ewingii complex and their use in conservation and hybridisation studies. Conservation Genetics Resources, published online.

Tolsma, T. and Shannon, J. (2009). An assessment of the management needs of mossbeds at Lake Mountain and the Baw Baw Plateau. Report to Parks Victoria. Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research, Department of Sustainability and Environment.
1

Results of frog surveys conducted at Lake Mountain and Mount Bullfight Nature Conservation Reserve during November and December 2010, and February 2011. AM = adult male; Juv = juvenile; Tad. = tadpole; Met = metamorphling; C1 = 1 to 10; C2 = 11 to 100; unk. = unknown; H = heard; T = trapped (i.e., hand-held); O = observed.



Date

Time

Locality

Site

Species

Age/sex

Count

Type of record

Comments

18/11/2010

1421

Mount Bullfight

B2

Crinia signifera

AM

C2

H

Large chorus of greater than 20

18/11/2010

1421

Mount Bullfight

B2

Litoria verreauxii alpina

AM

C1

H

Occasional frog heard

18/11/2010

1421

Mount Bullfight

B2

Litoria verreauxii alpina

Juv

1

T




18/11/2010

1503

Mount Bullfight

B2

Litoria verreauxii alpina

AM

3

H




18/11/2010

1503

Mount Bullfight

B2




Tad.




O

Present in most waterbodies

18/11/2010

1503

Mount Bullfight

B4

Crinia signifera

AM

C1

H




18/11/2010

1503

Mount Bullfight

B4

Crinia signifera

Tad.




O




18/11/2010

1530

Mount Bullfight

B5

Crinia signifera

Tad.




O




18/11/2010

1530

Mount Bullfight

B5

Litoria verreauxii alpina










Nothing present at this site

18/11/2010

1600

Mount Bullfight

B2

Litoria verreauxii alpina

Juv

C1

0




18/11/2010

2047

Mount Bullfight

B2

Crinia signifera

AM

C1

H




18/11/2010

2047

Mount Bullfight

B2

Litoria verreauxii alpina

AM

C2

H

Calling from sphagnum and
burnt shrubs

19/11/2010

1246

Mount Bullfight

UB5A

Crinia signifera

Tad.




O




19/11/2010

1256

Mount Bullfight

UB5B

Crinia signifera

Tad.

C1

O

Very low water levels

19/11/2010

1258

Mount Bullfight

UB5B

Litoria verreauxii alpina

Adult

1

T




19/11/2010

1300

Mount Bullfight

UB5B

Litoria verreauxii alpina

Juv

1

T




19/11/2010

1345

Mount Bullfight

UB4

Crinia signifera

Tad.




O




19/11/2010

1635

Mount Bullfight

UB3

Crinia signifera

Tad.

C1

O




19/11/2010

1637

Mount Bullfight

UB3

Litoria verreauxii alpina

AM

1

H

Warm-up call

19/11/2010

1715

Mount Bullfight

UB2

Litoria verreauxii alpina

AM

2

H




19/11/2010

1715

Mount Bullfight

UB2

Litoria verreauxii alpina

Tad.




O

Varying stages of development

19/11/2010

1715

Mount Bullfight

UB2

Crinia signifera

Tad.




O




19/11/2010

1715

Mount Bullfight

UB2

Litoria verreauxii alpina

Tad.




O

Five collected

19/11/2010

1715

Mount Bullfight

UB2

Litoria verreauxii alpina

Tad.




O




19/11/2010

1812

Mount Bullfight

UB1

Crinia signifera

AM

C2

H

Tens of Crinia calling

19/11/2010

1812

Mount Bullfight

UB1

Litoria verreauxii alpina

AM

2

H




19/11/2010

1812

Mount Bullfight

UB1

Litoria verreauxii alpina

Tad.




O




19/11/2010

1812

Mount Bullfight

UB1

Crinia signifera

Tad.




O




24/11/2010

1500

Mount Bullfight

B2

Crinia signifera

AM

C2

H




24/11/2010

1500

Mount Bullfight

B2

Litoria verreauxii alpina

Met

1

T

Swabbed

24/11/2010

1600

Mount Bullfight

B2

Litoria verreauxii alpina

AM

C1

H




24/11/2010

2046

Mount Bullfight

B2

Litoria verreauxii alpina

AM

C1

H




24/11/2010

2046

Mount Bullfight

B2

Crinia signifera

AM

C1

H




24/11/2010

2100

Mount Bullfight

B2

Litoria verreauxii alpina

AM

C2

H

More than
20 calling

24/11/2010

2100

Mount Bullfight

B2

Crinia signifera

AM

C1

H




25/11/2010

1000

Mount Bullfight

B2

Crinia signifera

AM

10

H




30/11/2010

1359

Lake Mountain

Site L13

Crinia signifera

AM

C2

H, T

More than
15 calling

30/11/2010

1359

Lake Mountain

Site L13

Crinia signifera

Tad.




O




30/11/2010

1500

Lake Mountain

Site L4

Crinia signifera

AM

C2

O

Many pools
with more than
20 calling

30/11/2010

1500

Lake Mountain

Site L4

Crinia signifera

Met

C2

T

Approximately 42 swabs collected

30/11/2010

1500

Lake Mountain

Site L4

Spawn







O

Spawn

30/11/2010

2055

Lake Mountain

Site L8

Crinia signifera

AM

C2

H

More than
30 calling

30/11/2010

2055

Lake Mountain

Site L8

Crinia signifera

Tad.




O




30/11/2010

2055

Lake Mountain

Site L8










O

Two Sambar Deer observed

30/11/2010

2149

Lake Mountain

Site L8

Crinia signifera

AM

C2

H

More than
50 calling

30/11/2010

2150

Lake Mountain

Site L7

Crinia signifera

AM

C1

H

30 swabs collected

30/11/2010

2150

Lake Mountain

Site L7

Crinia signifera

Tad.




O




30/11/2010

2216

Lake Mountain

Site L10

Crinia signifera

AM

C2

H

More than 50 calling, 20 swabs collected

30/11/2010

2251

Lake Mountain

Site L9

Crinia signifera

AM

C2

H

More than
40 calling, 20 swabs collected

30/11/2010

2315

Lake Mountain

Site L1

Ewingi complex frog

AM

1

T




1/12/2010

1203

Lake Mountain

Site L1

Crinia signifera

AM

C2

H

More than
20 calling

1/12/2010

1203

Lake Mountain

Site L1

Crinia signifera

Tad.




O




1/12/2010

1203

Lake Mountain

Site L1










O

Spawn

1/12/2010

1240

Lake Mountain

Site L13

Crinia signifera

AM

C2

H

More than
50 calling

1/12/2010

1317

Lake Mountain

Site L6

Crinia signifera

AM

C2

H

More than
50 calling, 10 swabs collected

1/12/2010

1317

Lake Mountain

Site L6

Eggs seen







O

No tadpoles observed

1/12/2010

1401

Lake Mountain

Site L5

Crinia signifera

AM

C1

H




1/12/2010

1401

Lake Mountain

Site L5

Crinia signifera

Met

C1

O




1/12/2010

1401

Lake Mountain

Site L5

Eggs seen







O

No tadpoles observed

22/12/2010

2153

Lake Mountain

Site L2

Ewingi complex frog

AM

2

H




22/12/2010

2153

Lake Mountain

Site L4

Ewingi complex frog

AM

1

H, T




16/02/2011

1045

Lake Mountain

Site L2

Crinia signifera

AM

C1

H




16/02/2011

1115

Lake Mountain

Site L3

Crinia signifera

Met

C2

O, T

Tens of metamorphs

16/02/2011

1115

Lake Mountain

Site L4

Crinia signifera

Met

C2

O, T

Tens of metamorphs

16/02/2011

1144

Lake Mountain

Site L6

Crinia signifera

AM

C1

H




16/02/2011

1232

Lake Mountain

Site L12

Crinia signifera

AM

C1

H




16/02/2011

1400

Lake Mountain

Site L7/L8

Crinia signifera

AM

C1

H




3/02/2011

1151

Lake Mountain

Site L10

Crinia signifera

AM

C2

H



1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9


The database is protected by copyright ©essaydocs.org 2016
send message

    Main page