Term of Award

Fall 1994

Degree Name

Master of Science in Biology

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Committee Chair

Stephen P. Vives

Committee Member 1

Denson K. McLain

Committee Member 2

Hugh M. Lefcort

Abstract

A temporary pond in pine-wiregrass flatwoods in southeast Georgia was monitored over an 18-month period encompassing two breeding seasons. Herpetofauna was sampled using the drift fence technique. The pond ranged from full to completely dry over the sample period. A total of 21 amphibian species representing 9 families and 22 reptilian species representing 10 families were captured. Herpetofaunal diversity and capture rates were calculated for three categories of pond depth and when the pond was dry.

Herpetofaunal diversity using Shannon's Diversity Index, Margalef's Diversity Index, and the Berger-Parker Dominance Index showed variation in the diversity within the community. Capture of individuals per unit effort showed marked interannual variation. Captures while the pond was dry indicated the importance of the dry basin for several species. Herpetofaunal diversity was also compared between breeding seasons with high versus low rainfall amounts. These data show that great annual and interannual variation occurs in this and similar habitats both in terms of capture per unit effort and the overall herpetofaunal diversity. This feature of ephemeral wetlands must be taken into consideration when sampling programs are planned.

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