We tested the hypotheses that species with greater mobility and/or higher reproductive rates are less sensitive to habitat loss than species with lower mobility and/or reproductive rates by conducting a meta-analysis of wetland vertebrate responses to wetland habitat loss. We combined data from 90 studies conducted worldwide that quantified the relationship between wetland amount in a landscape and population abundance of at least one wetland species to determine if mobility (indexed as home range size and body length) and annual reproductive rate influence species responses to wetland loss. When analyzed across all taxa, animals with higher reproductive rates were less sensitive to wetland loss. Surprisingly, we did not find an effect of mobility on response to wetland loss. Overall, wetland mammals and birds were more sensitive to wetland loss than were reptiles and amphibians. Our results suggest that dispersal between habitat patches is less important than species' reproductive rates for population persistence in fragmented landscapes. This implies that immigration and colonization rate is most strongly related to reproduction, which determines the total number of potential colonists.

Additional Metadata
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0090926
Journal PLoS ONE
Citation
Quesnelle, P.E. (Pauline E.), Lindsay, K.E. (Kathryn E.), & Fahrig, L. (2014). Low reproductive rate predicts species sensitivity to habitat loss: A meta-analysis of wetland vertebrates. PLoS ONE, 9(3). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0090926