Australian Journal of Zoology Australian Journal of Zoology Society
Evolutionary, molecular and comparative zoology
RESEARCH ARTICLE

No evidence of protracted population decline across 17 years in an unmanaged population of the green and golden bell frog in north-eastern New South Wales

Ross L. Goldingay A B , Jonathan Parkyn A and David A. Newell A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A School of Environment, Science and Engineering, Southern Cross University, PO Box 157, Lismore, NSW 2480, Australia.

B Corresponding author. Email: ross.goldingay@scu.edu.au

Australian Journal of Zoology 65(2) 87-96 https://doi.org/10.1071/ZO16087
Submitted: 15 December 2016  Accepted: 22 June 2017   Published: 25 July 2017

Abstract

Describing the population trends of threatened species over time is central to their management and conservation. The green and golden bell frog (Litoria aurea) is a formerly common species of south-eastern Australia that has declined to ~40 populations in New South Wales, and experienced a substantial contraction of its geographic range. We aimed to determine whether an unmanaged population at the northern end of its range had declined across a 17-year period. We estimated population size at the beginning and end of this period, using several population models to fully characterise this population. Different modelling approaches gave different population estimates. Based on a similar number of survey occasions the adult male segment of the population was estimated using the Popan model at 112.0 (±13.5, s.e.; 95% CI: 85.5–138.8) in 1998/99 and 95.2 (±17.6; 60.8–129.7) in 2015/16. With the inclusion of maturing subadults following the practice of earlier studies, the population was estimated at 163.6 (±25.9; 112.8–214.5) males in 2015/16. These estimates represent an index of a larger population because the largest wetland was subsampled. Our data provide no evidence of a declining population. Our study highlights the need to understand the implications of using different population models and two age-classes to estimate population parameters.


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