Microclimate, developmental plasticity and community structure in artificial temporary pools

Leon Blaustein, Jessica E. Garb, Daniela Shebitz, Eviatar Nevo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Solar radiation, which influences temperature and hydroperiod, should strongly influence colonization, development rate, development strategies and survival in temporary pools. We assessed these hypotheses at two spatial microscales with varying microclimate. One scale, ca. 200 m, was opposing slopes of a canyon on MT Carmel, Israel, referred to as 'Evolution Canyon' (Nevo, 1995). Due primarily to differential solar radiation, the warmer and drier South-facing slope (SFS) supports a savanna-like open park forest while the cooler, moister North-facing slope (NFS) is heavily forested, primarily with live oak. Using artificial pools, we assessed how these close but contrasting environments may influence developmental plasticity in the frog, Hyla savignyi, and colonization of insects. As expected, hydroperiod was considerably longer on the NFS. Hyla tadpole development was significantly faster on the SFS, while size at metamorphosis was greater on the NFS. Insect species richness was higher in NFS pools. The most common species, Culex pipiens, oviposited significantly more in NFS pools than in SFS pools. In the second scale, we placed pools only meters apart, but varying in shade and thus maximum temperature at Haifa University Campus, MT Carmel. Species richness and maximum temperature among pools were not correlated during winter and early spring (cool to mild temperatures), but were strongly and negatively correlated during early summer (hot temperatures). Thermal tolerance in the laboratory of selected species matched their thermal spatial distribution in the field. These results indicate that temperature can play a strong role in affecting developmental strategies, species' distributions and community structure in temporary pools over a very small spatial scale.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-196
Number of pages10
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1999


  • Community structure
  • Developmental plasticity
  • Hyla savignyi
  • Microclimate
  • Temporary pools

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science


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