Paper 10 Discussion Question

Do you think this experimental design models well and gives reliable information on the toads’ patch-related behavior? If yes, why, if not, what would you change?
The authors suggest that habitat fragmentation results in inheritable changes in dominant motivation of the behavior. Can you think of other explanations of the results?

4 thoughts on “Paper 10 Discussion Question

  1. I think the experiment is really trying to aproximate the real ciscumstances but the randomity from the experiment area is missing which does niot really resemble a real habitat. An other problem is the size of the experimenting area as mentioned in the posts before.
    The suggestion of the author is also included in a lot of other studies as a partial reason for differences (eg.: Landscape connectivity and animal behavior: functional grain as a key determinant for dispersal) but i think it also personality dependent and also depends on food supplyes, predation pressure etc.

  2. I think the expreimental design only partially models well the patch-related behavior. They only used equally spaced patches, but that rarely is the natural layout. I would have used at least 2 more layouts with randomly placed patches to mimic more the natural habitat.
    I think fragmentation exlains the results well, although there are more factors to be considered. Temperature changes, predation risk, social interactions I think can also affect these beahviors.

  3. I think that the scale of the experimental design is very different from the scale of fragmentation in the natural habitat of the toads, leading to questionable reliability of the model. I would increase both the time and spatial scale of the design to better reflect reality. Since they used first-generation toadlets, there could be possible maternal effects, for example, on the yolk hormones, which could affect the behaviour of the toads later in life, irrespective of their rearing conditions.

  4. I don’t think the experiment gives much reliable information on patch-related behaviour. Young toads are known to travel for up to 10 kilometers before their first reproduction. A 3 meter diameter circle is not able to replicate the sizes. Also, a forest patch is a whole different ballpark, you can’t compare it to a few centimeter wide leaf and soil patch. In the discussion, they mention, that it’s more like a microhabitat, and I think it gives information about microhabitat preference in the vicinity of the pond they hatched.

    Toads from the more fragmented sites might travel more in this experment, because usually ponds have some kind of manmade roads or paths around them, and they have to cross it to get far away from the water, and they have to make the first few meters fast, otherwise they get stepped on, or hit by a car.

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