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This article summarizes current knowledge of the ecology of amphibians associated with freshwater systems, and illustrates why information on both freshwater and terrestrial systems is critical to assessing the basic ecology and conservation requirements of these species. Discussion is divided into two sections corresponding to the two broad categories of freshwater systems used by amphibians: lentic systems, such as ponds and lakes, and lotic systems, such as streams and rivers. These sections include descriptions of the taxonomic groups associated with each type of freshwater system and of the natural history of those groups, a review of key aspects of amphibian ecology in that system, and case studies from the current literature exemplifying how terrestrial-aquatic linkages affect amphibians associated with that freshwater system. To conclude, emphasis is placed on the importance of expanding ecological studies to address explicitly the dual reliance of amphibians on freshwater and terrestrial systems, and priorities for future research are suggested. With a broader research approach, our ability to identify threats to amphibians will improve, and so will our ability to translate data on the abundance and distribution of these species into information on the health and integrity of natural systems.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Inland Waters
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages7
ISBN (Print)9780123706263
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009


  • Community ecology
  • Demography
  • Dispersal
  • Fish
  • Frog
  • Headwaters
  • Lake
  • Metapopulation
  • Newt
  • Pond
  • Population ecology
  • River
  • Salamander
  • Stream
  • Toad


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