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The influence of landscape heterogeneity on amphibian species richness in Malaga province, Spain

Mwangi, Peter Kariuki (2010) The influence of landscape heterogeneity on amphibian species richness in Malaga province, Spain.

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Abstract:Amphibians are a good health indicator of environmental conditions due to their habitat requirements and physiological nature. They are moisture dependant ectotherms and require both aquatic and terrestrial habitats to exist. Factors that influence habitat selection are varied in species; amphibians utilize different environments during their lifetime. In this study we want to investigate whether there is a relationship between landscape heterogeneity (land cover diversity and altitude standard deviation) and the spatial variation of amphibian species richness and its relative influence in comparison to other primary determinants using regression and correlation analysis. Furthermore we also want to investigate whether the amphibian species richness varies across different land cover types using ANOVA. The study was carried out in Malaga province, Southern Spain. Land cover diversity and altitude standard deviation did not have a significant correlation to amphibian species richness variation. Climate variables such as evapotranspiration and temperature during the hottest month (july) are of more importance than landscape heterogeneity variables, with a significant correlation of 0.269 and -0.290 respectively at an R2 of 0.214, in determining the variation of amphibian species richness. Other important determinants are slope (correlation = -0.260) and human population density (correlation = -0.10). The study highlights that the variation in species richness of amphibians is still primarily influenced by energy/water balance (measured as evapotranspiration) and energy (measured as temperature) variables which supersede landscape heterogeneity variables despite of fact that atmospheric energy is not a limitation in the Mediterranean region. The study also mentions that amphibian species richness varies at the different land cover types and illustrates that broadleaved forest cover has the highest species richness while building and infrastructure cover has the lowest species richness of amphibians. This may be due to their physiological nature and habitat requirements. Keywords: Amphibian species richness, altitude standard deviation, landscape heterogeneity, land cover types, land cover diversity, primary determinants
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:ITC: Faculty of Geo-information Science and Earth Observation
Programme:Geoinformation Science and Earth Observation MSc (75014)
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