Pond age and riparian zone proximity influence anuran occupancy of urban retention ponds

Devynn A. Birx-Raybuck, Steven J. Price, Michael E. Dorcas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Urbanization is widespread throughout the United States and negatively affects many wildlife populations. However, certain urban features, such as retention ponds, may provide habitat for some species, such as amphibians. This study examines the influence of riparian zone proximity and pond age on retention pond occupancy by anurans. We identified and estimated the age of 25 retention ponds near Charlotte, North Carolina, USA and used a geographic information system to determine the distance to the nearest riparian zone. Occupancy modeling indicated that anuran presence decreased with increasing distance to riparian zone. Pond age also appeared to be an important factor, but the effect varied among species. Although the results of this study demonstrate the potential value of retention ponds to anurans, it is important to be conservative in estimating the ability of these ponds to sustain amphibian populations in urbanized regions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-190
Number of pages10
JournalUrban Ecosystems
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements The authors would like to thank M. Pilgrim and four anonymous reviewers for their comments that improved the manuscript. We thank W. Anderson, G. Connette, E. Eskew, B. Fonville, D. Millican, and C. Steelman for assistance in the field. Funding was provided by the Davidson College Department of Biology, Duke Power, and a National Science Foundation grant to MED (DEB-0347326).


  • Anuran
  • Fragmented landscape
  • Pond age
  • Retention pond
  • Riparian zone
  • Urbanization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Urban Studies


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