Beavers and their dams may help amphibians

Jan 12, 2007

The dam-building beaver may be an ally in conserving wetland habitat for declining amphibian populations, a University of Alberta study said.

The study identifies the beaver as a valuable "surrogate species" for frog and toad populations, said University of Alberta researchers Cam Stevens and Cindy Paszkowski in the January issue of Biological Conservation.

Surrogate species can indicate changes to the environment or can protect a large number of naturally co-occurring species.

"The concept of surrogate species in conservation planning offers simple, ecologically-based solutions to help conserve and manage ecosystems," said Paszkowski, a biological sciences professor at the university.

Beaver ponds appear to offer suitable breeding habitats for amphibians because of their warm, well-oxygenated water, which enhances development and growth rates of frog and toad larvae, she said. The ponds may be less inviting to predators because dams usually are on small streams where winterkill conditions are common.

Beavers may be useful as a surrogate species in helping to conserve frogs and toads in remote parts of western North America.

"The challenge will be to promote modest levels of beaver activity even where conflicts with human interests might occur," Stevens noted.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: Revealing camouflaged bacteria

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Creative activities outside work can improve job performance

4 hours ago

Employees who pursue creative activities outside of work may find that these activities boost their performance on the job, according to a new study by San Francisco State University organizational psychologist Kevin Eschleman ...

Simplicity is key to co-operative robots

5 hours ago

A way of making hundreds—or even thousands—of tiny robots cluster to carry out tasks without using any memory or processing power has been developed by engineers at the University of Sheffield, UK.

Freight train industry to miss safety deadline

6 hours ago

The U.S. freight railroad industry says only one-fifth of its track will be equipped with mandatory safety technology to prevent most collisions and derailments by the deadline set by Congress.

Recommended for you

Chimpanzees prefer firm, stable beds

7 hours ago

Chimpanzees may select a certain type of wood, Ugandan Ironwood, over other options for its firm, stable, and resilient properties to make their bed, according to a study published April 16, 2014 in the open-access ...

For cells, internal stress leads to unique shapes

8 hours ago

From far away, the top of a leaf looks like one seamless surface; however, up close, that smooth exterior is actually made up of a patchwork of cells in a variety of shapes and sizes. Interested in how these ...

Adventurous bacteria

9 hours ago

To reproduce or to conquer the world? Surprisingly, bacteria also face this problem. Theoretical biophysicists at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich have now shown how these organisms should ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Revealing camouflaged bacteria

A research team at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel has discovered an protein family that plays a central role in the fight against the bacterial pathogen Salmonella within the cells. The so cal ...

Chimpanzees prefer firm, stable beds

Chimpanzees may select a certain type of wood, Ugandan Ironwood, over other options for its firm, stable, and resilient properties to make their bed, according to a study published April 16, 2014 in the open-access ...