Do check dams influence tadpole behavioural and morphological traits?
Yes, check out our new paper on overwintering tadpoles from western Himalaya, published in 'Limnologica - Ecology and Management of Inland Waters' by the German Limnological Society.
Tadpole visible density was influenced by canopy cover, water temperature, instream cover, leaf litter depth, water velocity, time of the day and check dam presence.
Tadpole activity patterns varied between natural and check dam pools in post-winter.
We found variations in mean body size, mean relative tail length, and mean tail depth between natural and check dam pools across seasons.
Why does this matter?
Himalayan streams are increasingly modified for water extraction, hydroelectric projects & recreation. The impact of check dams on aquatic life thus needs to be clearly understood for better management considering both people and aquatic life needs.
"The study highlights the importance of developing suitable conservation plans, which consider the needs of both aquatic organisms as well as humans" - Dr. J.A. Johnson
Read a feature article in the Times of India on our study here:
What is overwintering? How do the tadpoles survive in chilly winters in water at 2°C water? Check out the paper for more interesting findings: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.limno.2022.125992
Our paper gives the first insight into the ecology of overwintering tadpoles from India.
V. Jithin, J.A. Johnson & A. Das. Influence of check dams on the activity pattern and morphometric traits of overwintering tadpoles in the Western Himalaya. Limnologica 95 (2022)
We studied the overwintering tadpoles of Paa frogs, Nanorana spp. in the western Himalaya, in Ringali Gad, Mussoorie Wildlife Sanctuary. Check dams are built in the stream for water extraction and torrent control. We wanted to see how these modifications can potentially influence the tadpoles.
This paper is from the first part of my MSc thesis, from the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun. Financial and logistical support from WII, Uttarakhand Forest Department and the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India.
Read the full paper to see what we found!:
Sampling in the cold water during winter was something both exciting and painful! See some of behind the scenes: