Influences of temperature and oxygen upon habitat selection by bullfrog tadpoles and three species of freshwater fishes in two Alabama strip mine ponds

Academic Article


  • We studied the annual distributions of dissolved oxygen, temperature, and four aquatic vertebrates in two relatively young ponds (Road Pond and Strip Mine Pond) formed by strip mining operations in Alabama. On the basis of the limnological data, Road Pond was classified as warm polymictic and Strip Mine Pond as warm monomictic. In Strip Mine Pond, the summertime distribution of fish (bluegills, Lepomis macrochirus) was clearly related to oxygen availability, with fish avoiding severely hypoxic or anoxic water found at depths >2 m. However, bullfrog tadpoles commonly occurred in water at depths ≥ 2 m, where the PO2 was at or below their critical O2 tension. Tadpoles occurring at these depths switched from facultative air-breathing to obligate air-breathing and may have been using these depths as a refugium. In Road Pond, fishes (fathead minnows, Pimephales promelas, and golden shiners, Notemigonus crysoleucas) congregated during summertime in shallower waters. Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana) tadpoles preferred the deeper portions of Road Pond. The contrasting distributions of tadpoles in the two ponds are potentially explainable on the basis of predation pressure.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Ultsch GR; Reese SA; Nie M; Crim JD; Smith WH; LeBerte CM
  • Start Page

  • 149
  • End Page

  • 162
  • Volume

  • 416