Sampling Design Optimization and Establishment of Baselines for Herpetofauna Arrays at the Point Loma Ecological Reserve

Type: report

Article abstract: Only 12 of the original 19 species thought to be present at Point Loma Ecological Reserve were detected during pitfall trap sampling from 1995-2001 (see Table14) and only 11 during the actual time period used in this analysis (1996-2000). Monitoring for declines in species still present at Point Loma is necessary to provide information for timely management intervention. Striped racer captures and number of species detected per array declined from 1996 to 2000. While striped racer declines could be caused by the snakes learning to avoid the traps, the decline is a concern and should be monitored. Declines in the number of juvenile striped racers would be especially important to track, since they will not yet have learned to avoid the traps. The following recommendations are made for refining monitoring for herpetofauna using pitfall trap arrays at Point Loma Ecological Reserve at Point Loma, California. Refinements should provide some reduction in sampling effort while maintaining an ability to detect approximately a 20% drop in the number of species detected per array, a 40-50% drop in orange-throated whiptail (Cnemidophorus hyperythrus) capture rates, and an ability to continue monitoring trends in striped racer (Masticophis lateralis), ring-necked snake (Diadophis punctatus), and southern Pacific rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis), which were variables requested by the reserve manager. - The number of sampling days per year could be reduced from 50 to 40. - Only arrays #6 and #12 should be discontinued. - Control limits were calculated for the various response variables (see Table 15 for a summary of all control limits). - The 40 sampling days per year could be distributed across five 8-day sampling periods (similar to the original design of five 10-day sample periods) or alternatively across ten 4-day sampling periods with little effect on the results, provided they occur at approximately the same time during the year as the baseline data. This should allow work to be scheduled within a single work-week. - If further reductions in sampling are required due to budget considerations, sampling the 15 arrays every other year is preferred to reducing the number of arrays sampled. In addition, it may be possible to reduce sampling in the January-February sampling period to only 4 days if tracking declines in salamanders is not a concern. Sampling in January- February should be timed after rain events to maximize detection of salamande

Number of pages: 44

Authors: Atkinson, Andrea; Fisher, Robert N.; Rochester, Carlton; Brown, Chris;

Year: 2003

Prepared for: Cabrillo National Monument, National Park Sevice;

Prepared by: U.S. Geological Survey, Western Ecological Research Center;

Keywords: baseline; herpetofauna pitfall arrays; pitfall traps; Point Loma; Point Loma Ecological Reserve;

Species: Orange-throated whiptail