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Doctoral thesis, 2011

Choosing the best of both worlds

Gustafson, Daniel;


The great crested newt (Triturus cristatus) is dependent on two environments for its survival: the aquatic habitat necessary for breeding and development, and the terrestrial habitat required for post-breeding and juvenile activities. For a population to be able to survive in a landscape, both habitat types must be present within migration distance from each other. The overall aim of this thesis is to find and describe prerequisites of environments and landscapes that make them sufficient as habitats for the great crested newt. The purpose is also to present the results in a conservation perspective and to discuss them in relation to practical examples. In five separate studies, performed in Örebro County, south-central Sweden, the aquatic and terrestrial habitats of the species were examined. The first study examined aquatic plants in a variety of ponds and landscapes, to determine if the diversity of plant species was higher in ponds where great crested newts were present. I found that ponds with newts had a significantly higher mean number of plant species than ponds without the species. The second study focused on the question if there are chemical and physical characteristics that determine occurrence of great crested newts. The results showed that temperature and nutrient levels (nitrogen and phosphorus) were important in distinguishing between ponds with and without newts, whereas other physical variables were less important. My results also suggest that the great crested newt selects ponds with low nutrient levels for breeding, while the species may also be present in ponds with higher nutrient levels. The third study used radio-telemetry in an attempt to determine how the great crested newt moved in its terrestrial habitat and which micro-habitats it used while the focal point of study four was the landscape and if landscape composition may predict use of ponds as aquatic habitats. Combined, studies three and four suggest that management of the species should to a greater extent include terrestrial habitat, with special attention given to older, deciduous-rich forest within approximately 200 m of breeding ponds. The aim of the last study was to describe and evaluate a project concerning translocation of a great crested newt population. I point out the necessity of long-term monitoring to distinguish any possible success with respect to site sustainability and population size.


salamanders; habitats; landscape; ponds; indicator organisms; sweden

Published in

Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae

2011, number: 2011:87
ISBN: 978-91-576-7631-3
Publisher: School for Forest Management, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Authors' information

Gustafson, Daniel
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, School for Forest Management

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