Research on amphibian movement patterns can aid in strengthening amphibian conservation strategies. Yet for many species, there remain substantial gaps in our knowledge of such movement patterns. From 1999–2002, we documented movement patterns to and from breeding pools of both adult and juvenile Rana sylvatica LeConte (Wood Frog) and Ambystoma maculatum Shaw (Spotted Salamander) by using drift fence arrays at three restored vernal pools in Maine to lend insight into conservation strategies for these two species. Adults and juveniles of both species exhibited nonrandom movement at breeding pools directed preferentially from and toward closed-canopy forested habitat. Marked male, female, and juvenile R. sylvatica were recaptured at 30 m, 150 m, and 300 m from the pool in the surrounding terrestrial environment. Most terrestrial recaptures occurred within the forested wetland habitat to the north of the pool. Median snout–vent lengths (SVL) of recaptured juvenile R. sylvatica were progressively larger at greater distances from the pool. Number of juveniles emerging from the pool was positively correlated with number of juveniles recaptured two days later at 30 m, four days later at 150 m, and six days later at 300 m. Male R. sylvatica were 98% faithful to their breeding pools from 2001–2002, whereas female R. sylvatica were 88% faithful. Male and female A. maculatum were 100% faithful to their breeding pools during the same period. Both species' (adult and juvenile) nonrandom movement toward forest upon leaving breeding pools suggests that quality of adjacent terrestrial habitat is relevant to both juvenile and adult pool-breeding amphibians. High levels of pool fidelity observed in these two species emphasize the importance of conserving vernal pools and mitigating for pool-losses on-site if the nonbreeding habitat is still available. Correlations between amphibian migrations and weather variables varied between years and species, suggesting emigration, immigration, and dispersal may be associated other environmental variables in conjunction with temperature and precipitation. However, heightened activity of both species (adults and juveniles) in response to temperature and precipitation can inform the timing of monitoring efforts and conservation strategies aimed at protecting migration routes.
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