Herpetofauna in Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada: comments on sample methodology and forest disturbance
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Habitat selection in herpetofauna in Rondeau Provincial Park (RPP) around roads and human structures in built areas were described alongside recommendations on cover board material for their survey. The first objective was to ascertain differences among captures between cover board types: 1.5-inch (3.8 cm) thick, but smaller, spruce boards or 0.5-inch (1.3 cm) thick plywood boards. The second objective was to report on insights on cover board arrangement for maximum captures and appropriate seasons for herpetological surveys in the RPP region. A third objective was to determine how distance to nearest road or distance to the nearest artificial structure might influence captures. Cover boards were classified by type and frequency of capture across eight common species in RPP. Significantly higher captures than expected by the area from which all traps were drawing indicated patterns of selection. The period over which peak captures occurred was plotted for each species against temperature trends over the 2014 season. Species preferring moist habitats were attracted to a more insulating board that mimics damp microclimates; those preferring dry habitats were ready to use a less insulating plywood board. Model selection based on Akaike’s Information Criterion (AIC) for small samples was used to find habitat associations for five species with sufficient captures in forest and built areas, distance to the nearest road, and distance to identified buildings in the cottage development. Roads created a significant apparent deterrent to the herpetofauna in RPP. As the climate changes, herpetofauna will be forced to change their activity seasons. The trends illustrated in RPP indicated that small, cryptic species of lizards could survive anthropogenic disturbance and even find overnight refuge in anthropogenic areas.