Habitat correlates of distribution and local population decline of the endemic Sardinian newt Euproctus platycephalus
Lecis, R. and Norris, K. (2004) Habitat correlates of distribution and local population decline of the endemic Sardinian newt Euproctus platycephalus. Biological Conservation, 115 (2). pp. 303-317. ISSN 0006-3207
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/s0006-3207(03)00149-6
Habitat-based statistical models relating patterns of presence and absence of species to habitat variables could be useful to resolve conservation-related problems and highlight the causes of population declines. In this paper, we apply such a modelling approach to an endemic amphibian, the Sardinian mountain newt Euproctus platycephalus, considered by IUCN a critically endangered species. Sardinian newts inhabit freshwater habitat in streams, small lakes and pools on the island of Sardinia (Italy). Reported declines of newt populations are not yet supported by quantitative data, however, they are perceived or suspected across the species' historical range. This study represents a first attempt trying to statistically relate habitat characteristics to Sardinian newt occurrence and persistence. Linear regression analysis revealed that newts are more likely to be found in sites with colder water temperature, less riparian vegetation and, marginally, absence of fish. The implications of the results for the conservation of the species are discussed, and suggestions for the short-term management of newt inhabited sites suggested. (C) 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.