Anadolu Doğa Bilimleri Dergisi 5(2): 24-29, 2014 (Journal of Anatolian Natural Sciences)

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1 Anadolu Doğa Bilimleri Dergisi 5(2): 24-29, 2014 (Journal of Anatolian Natural Sciences) Short Note Habitat Preferences of Endemic Caucasian Parsley Frog (Pelodytes caucasicus) Boulenger, 1896 and Caucasian Salamander (Mertensiella caucasica) (Waga, 1876) Based on Bioclimatic Data of Fırtına Valley (Rize, Northeastern Anatolia) Serkan GÜL Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Üniversitesi, Fen Edebiyat Fakültesi, Biyoloji Bölümü, 53100, Rize. Astract: Eastern Black Sea Region, known as a part of Caucasus Biodiversity Hotspot, is one of the 34 World Biodiversity Hotspot regions. In this study, bioclimatic data of Fırtına Valley (Rize, Northeastern Anatolia) was extracted and habitat preferences of two endemic species Mertensiella caucasica (Caucasian Salamader) and Pelodytes caucasicus (Caucasian Frog) living on the valley were determined. While Caucasian Parsley Frog (Pelodytes caucasicus) prefers wetter and warmer habitats through the valley based on bioclimatic data, the Caucasian salamander (Mertensiella caucasica) prefers cooler and drier habitats. Keywords: The Fırtına Valley, Pelodytes caucasicus, Mertensiella caucasica, Caucasus. Fırtına Vadisi nin (Rize, Kuzeydoğu Anadolu) Biyoiklimsel Verilerine Dayanarak Endemik Kafkas Kurbağası (Pelodytes caucasicus) Boulenger, 1896 ve Kafkas Semenderi nin (Mertensiella caucasica) (Waga, 1876) Habitat Tercihleri Özet: Doğu Karadeniz Bölgesi, dünyadaki 34 Biyoçeşitlilik Sıcak Nokta bölgelerinden biri olan Kafkas Biyoçeşitlilik Sıcak Noktasının bir parçasıdır. Bu çalışmada, Fırtına Vadisi nin (Rize, Kuzeydoğu Anadolu) biyoiklimsel verileri çıkartılarak vadi üzerinde yaşayan iki endemik tür olan Mertensiella caucasica (Kafkas Semenderi) ve Pelodytes caucasicus (Kafkas Kurbağası) un habitat tercihleri belirlendi. Biyoiklimsel verilere dayanarak, Kafkas Kurbağası nın (Pelodytes caucasicus) vadi boyunca daha yağışlı ve sıcak habitatları tercih ederken Kafkas Semenderi nin (Mertensiella caucasica) daha soğuk ve kuru habitatları tercih ettiği gözlenmiştir. Anahtar Kelimeler: Fırtına Vadisi, Pelodytes caucasicus, Mertensiella caucasica, Kafkasya. Introduction Turkey is located at the intersection of three global biodiversity hotspots identified by Conservation international: The Caucasus, the Irano-Anatolian hotspot and the Mediterranean Basin (Myers et al., 2000). The Caucasus biodiversity hotspot consists of 131 mammals, 378 birds, 86 reptiles and 17 amphibians in respect to terrestrial vertebrates (from Conservation International), and Eastern Black Sea Region is one of the biologically richest regions on Earth and accepted as a biodiversity hotspot with other parts of Caucasus Biodiversity Hotspot Region (Kazancı et al., 2011). The Fırtına Valley (Rize, Northeastern Anatolia) is situated between latitudes and longitudes. Moreover, the Fırtına Valley extends up to the summit of Bulut- Altıparmak, Kaçkar (3932 m.), Verçenik (3709 m.) and Göller (Hunut) mountains within borders of Ardeşen and Çamlıhemşin towns of Rize province of east Black Sea Region (Zaman, 2008; Gedik et al., 2010). Kaçkar

2 Mountains National Park in the Fırtına Valley is one of the most important natural areas of Turkey. The mountain massif of the Kaçkar also represents one of the most highly glaciated areas of the Turkish mountains. Today, there are five large glaciers in the Park, which contributes to the biological diversity of the East Black Sea Mountains (Somuncu, 2007). Therefore, since the Kaçkar Mountains National Park is known not only at the national level, but also at the international level in the way of its wildlife, plant richness, and geomorphologic formations, it is an important part of the Caucasus biodiversity hotspot. As a result of features, the Kaçkar Mountains National Park is between 200 ecological zones that need to be protected by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) (Zaman, 2008). Given the climatic characteristics of the Fırtına Valley, rainfall is mostly observed during winter and fall. The Fırtına Valley, especially the parts having 1500 m altitude is covered with fog in almost every season of the year. Temperatures are usually low with a yearly mean of 13.5 C. Highest temperatures are recorded in July and August with means values around 21.7 C but temperatures within the day can vary greatly depending on sunlight and rainfall. Relative humidity is high and constant throughout the year with mean values around 73-82%. Fog formation is common in the area especially at higher altitudes where fog tides come and go on daily bases (Sağlam and Çağlar, 2007; Kurnaz et al., 2007). The valley is especially very richness for amphibian species owing to ecological conditions (Baran et al., 1997). 14 amphibian and reptile species were recorded in the valley (Baran et al., 1997). Mertensiella caucasica (Waga, 1876) lives outside the water in humid places, generally in narrow, shadowy canyons. They do not endure high temperatures; feeding activity decreases when the temperature exceeds 20 C (Tarkhnishvili and Gokhelashvili, 1999). Pelodytes caucasicus Boulenger, 1896 spends most of its life in humid terrestrial habitats, usually near mountain streams and small rivers (Tarkhnishvili and Gokhelashvili, 1999). Herein, I aim to determine habitat preferences and potential distribution across the valley of M. caucasica and P. caucasicus under current climate conditions based on bioclimatic data. Material and Methods It was used the known distribution record of M. caucasica and P. caucasicus according to literature data (Baran et al., 1997; Franzen, 1999; Arıgün and Öztürk, 2008; Tarkhnishvili et al., 2008) (Table 1, Figure 1). Table 1. Locations of M. caucasica and P. caucasicus in the valley based on known literature. Species Latitude Longitude Locations References M. caucasica Zilkale-Palovit şelalesi Arıgün and Öztürk (2008); Franzen, (1999) M. caucasica Ayder1 Tarkhnishvili et al. (2008) M. caucasica Ayder2 Tarkhnishvili et al. (2008) M. caucasica Ayder3 Tarkhnishvili et al. (2008) M. caucasica Çamlıhemşin Tarkhnishvili et al. (2008) P. caucasicus Hoşdere Köyü Baran et al. (1997) P. caucasicus Ülkü Köyü Baran et al. (1997); Franzen (1999) P. caucasicus Duygulu Köyü Baran et al. (1997) P. caucasicus Şenyuva köprüsü Arıgün and Öztürk (2008); Franzen (1999)

3 Figure 1. Distributions of M. caucasica and P. caucasicus in the Fırtına Valley. Nineteen bioclimatic data under current climate conditions were obtained from the WorldClim version 1.4 (available at (Table 2). These data are based on weather conditions recorded between 1950 and 2000 with Esri grid cell resolution of the highest resolution (30 arc-seconds (~1 km)) (Hijmans et al., 2005). Each bioclimatic data was managed using ArcGIS version10.1 software (ESRI, 2012). 19 bioclimatic data belonging to each location were separately extracted using ModEco version 3.02 (Guo and Liu, 2010) for both M. caucasica and P. caucasicus. Since N was very small, Mann-Whitney U from non-parametric tests was used in order to statistically determine significance of difference between nineteen bioclimatic data. All statistical analyses were performed using SPSS version 21 (IBM SPSS Statistics for Windows, Version Armonk, NY)

4 Results and Discussion Table 2. Summary of bioclimatic data from WorldClim data set. Abbreviation Environmental Variable BIO1 Annual Mean Temperature BIO2 Mean Diurnal Range (Mean of monthly (max temp - min temp)) BIO3 Isothermality (BIO2/BIO7) (* 100) BIO4 Temperature Seasonality (standard deviation *100) BIO5 Max Temperature of Warmest Month BIO6 Min Temperature of Coldest Month BIO7 Temperature Annual Range (BIO5-BIO6) BIO8 Mean Temperature of Wettest Quarter BIO9 Mean Temperature of Driest Quarter BIO10 Mean Temperature of Warmest Quarter BIO11 Mean Temperature of Coldest Quarter BIO12 Annual Precipitation BIO13 Precipitation of Wettest Month BIO14 Precipitation of Driest Month BIO15 Precipitation Seasonality (Coefficient of Variation) BIO16 Precipitation of Wettest Quarter BIO17 Precipitation of Driest Quarter BIO18 Precipitation of Warmest Quarter BIO19 Precipitation of Coldest Quarter According to Mann-Whitney U test, it was found that there was a statistically significant difference between M. caucasica and P. caucasicus in terms of the Bio2, Bio7, Bio11, Bio13, Bio14, Bio16, and Bio19 variables (Table 3). These results indicated that M. caucasica and P. caucasicus choose different bioclimatic conditions across the valley. M. caucasica prefers colder and drier habitats while P. caucasicus living in the valley chooses wetter and warmer environmental conditions across the valley (Table 3). These results show that geographic distribution in the valley of both species are occurred by different bioclimatic preferences. In other words, both M. caucasica and P. caucasicus require to different temperature and humidity levels. M. caucasica shows distribution towards the mountain slopes that have high altitude in the southeast region of the valley. Tarkhnishvili et al. (2008) found similar results with present study. They informed that suitable habitats for M. caucasica covered the northern slopes of the east Black Sea Mountains, and the western part of Georgia. In addition, the potential range approaches the Black Sea between Rize and Batumi, but in the east and west of this fragment suitable habitat exist only in the mountains, remote from the coastal zone. On the contrary, P. caucasicus distributes in more central and the lower part of altitude across the valley (Table 3). Similarly, Systematic Conservation Planning Project of the Black Sea Region (SKP in Turkish) was reported that P. caucasicus indicated distribution along the coastline of the Eastern Black Sea. Table 3. Statistical values of environmental variables shown differences between M. caucasica and P. caucasicus (SD: Standard Deviation). Bioclimatic Variables Pelodytes caucasicus Mertensiella caucasica Mean ± SD (N = 4) Mean ± SD (N = 5) U value P value Bio2 ( C) 8.4 ± ± P <0.05 Bio7 ( C) 25.8 ± ± P <0.05 Bio11 ( C) 4.52 ± ± P <0.05 Bio13 (mm) 174 ± ± P <0.05 Bio14 (mm) 74.0 ± ± P <0.05 Bio16 (mm) 492 ± ± P <0.05 Bio19 (mm) 405 ± ± P <

5 According to the IUCN Red List, M. caucasica is listened as Vulnerable because its area of occupancy is less than km2 in the Caucasus. The most important threat for this species is that habitat destruction is a major threat across the species range. Suitable subalpine and alpine meadows within the species range are being degraded through road construction and "summer house" tourism in the Eastern Black Sea Mountains (Magnin and Yarar, 1997). Additionally, several dams are being constructed on streams used by this species. This species is also collected for the pet trade (Kaya et al., 2012). Due to these results, its generation is considered to be high risk of extinction in the wild. P. caucasicus is considered to be Near Threatened in the IUCN Red List, because of population decline. Populations within the species range are seriously threatened by the localized loss of suitable vegetation through drainage of areas surrounding the lake as part of tourism development (from IUCN Red List). Since M. caucasica and P. caucasicus are usually associated with water and aquatic habitats such as ponds, marshes, lakes, and rivers, loss and deterioration of aquatic habitats is considered as major treats (SKP in Turkish). In conclusion, this study indicates that M. caucasica and P. caucasicus occur in different microhabitats across the Fırtına Valley. The reason is probably that climatic characteristic of the Fırtına Valley shows variable structure because of its location in the transition zone between tropical air masses and polar air masses. Because of ambulant features of these masses, climate in the region may change according the seasons. Polar air masses dominate in the winter while tropical air masses become effective in the zone during the summer, and the zone receives abundant rainfall (Bayrakdar, 2006). Although the Fırtına Valley is located in the Kaçkar Mountain National Park, there is no study aimed at conservation of these two species. According to Conservation Planning Project of the Black Sea Region, Çamlıhemşin that is located in the Fırtına Valley is within priority areas for conservation in the Black Sea Region. That is why conservation management plans for these two species should be mobilized. References Arıgün, H., Öztürk, K Rize ili Çamlıhemşin ve Çayeli Yörelerinde Herpetolojik Araştırma. Bitirme Çalışması. Rize Üniversitesi. Rize. 38. Baran, İ., Tosunoğlu, M., Kaya, U., Kumlutaş, Y Çamlıhemşin Rize Civarının Herpetofaunası hakkında. Doğa Türk Zooloji Dergisi. 21: Bayrakdar, C Fırtına Deresi Havzasının Uygulamalı Etüdü. Yüksek Lisans Tezi. İstanbul Üniversitesi. İstanbul ESRI ArcGIS Desktop: Release 10.1 Redlands, CA: Environmental Systems Research Institute. Franzen, M Verbreitung und Ökologie von Pelodytes caucasicus Boulenger, 1896 in der Türkei (Distribution and Ecology of Pelodytes caucasicus Boulenger, 1896 in Turkey). Salamandra. 35 (1): Gedik, K., Verep, B., Terzi, E., Fevzioğlu, S Fırtına Deresi (Rize)'nin Fiziko-Kimyasal Açıdan Su Kalitesinin Belirlenmesi. Ekoloji. 76: Guo, Q., Liu, Y ModEco: An Integrated Software Package for Ecological Niche Modeling. Ecography. 33: Hijmans, R.J., Cameron, S.E., Parra, J.L., Jones, P.G., Jarvis, A Very High Resolution Interpolated Climate Surfaces for Global Land Areas. International Journal of Climatology. 25: IUCN Red List: Ugur Kaya, Boris Tuniyev, Natalia Ananjeva, Nikolai Orlov, Theodore Papenfuss, Sergius Kuzmin, David Tarkhnishvili, Sako Tuniyev, Max Sparreboom, Ismail Ugurtas, Steven Anderson Mertensiella caucasica. In: IUCN IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version <http://www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 13 November Kaya, U., Üzum, N., Kumlutas, Y., Avcı, A., Kaska, Y., Öz, M., Tunc, R., Başkale, E Overview of Conservation and Red List of Turkey s Threatened Amphibians. FrogLog. 101: Kazancı, N., Öz, B., Türkmen, G., Başören, Ö.E Contributions to Aquatic Fauna of A Biodiversity Hotspot in Eastern Black Sea Region of Turkey with Records from Runningwater Interstitial Fauna. Review of Hydrobiology. 4 (2): Kurnaz, A., Küçükömeroğlu, B., Keser, R., Okumusoğlu, N.T., Korkmaz, F., Karahan, G., Çevik, U Determination of Radioactivity Levels and Hazards of Soil and Sediment Samples in Fırtına Valley (Rize, Turkey). Applied Radiation and Isotopes. 65: Magnin, G., Yarar, M The Important Bird Areas of Turkey. World Wildlife Association, Istanbul

6 Myers, N., Mittermeier, R.A., Mittermeier, C.G., Fonseca, G.A.B., Kent, J Biodiversity Hotspots for Conservation Priorities. Nature. 403: Sağlam, I.K., Cağlar, S.S Local Population Size and Dynamics of the Color Polymorphic Bush Cricket, Isophya rizeensis Sevgili, 2003 (Orthoptera: Tettigoniidae) within the Fırtına Valley. Turkish Journal of Zoology. 31: 1-8. Somuncu, M Sustainable Tourism in the Kaçkar Mountains National Park, Turkey. In Proceeding of the 3rd International Seminar on Mountain Tourism in Sucha Beskidzka, (p ) Poland, Sustainable Tourism in the Montane Protected Areas, Building Partnership between NGOs and Managers of Protected Areas, Seminar Report, Sucha. Systematic Conservation Planning Project of the Black Sea Region (Karadeniz Bölgesi Sistematik Koruma Planlaması (SKP). Doğa Koruma Merkezi, Ankara, Türkiye in Turkish) (www.dkm.org.tr) Tarkhnishvili, D., Gokhelashvili, R.K The Amphibians of the Caucasus. Pensoft, Sofia, Moscow. Tarkhnishvili, D., Kaya, U., Gavashelishvili, A., Serbinova, I Ecological Divergence between Two Evolutionary Lineages of the Caucasian Salamander: Evidence from the GIS Analysis. Herpetological Journal. 18: Zaman, M Fırtına Deresi Havzası ve Kaçkar Dağları Milli Parkı nın Alternatif Turizm Açısından Önemi. Atatürk Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimler Enstitüsü Dergisi. 12 (2):

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