Population dynamics of the European fire-bellied toad, Bombina bombina, in Upper Lobau (Donau-Auen National Park, Vienna)


Dominik Huemer

MSc Student
Advisor: Günter Gollmann

Unit for Theoretical Biology, Department of Evolutionary Biology
University of Vienna


In disturbance-dominated environments such as river floodplains, the availability of suitable habitats and spawning grounds for amphibians is highly dependent on water levels. Extreme events such as floods or droughts can completely change habitat and environmental conditions within a short time. The Danube River floodplains of Lobau, located in Vienna, are part of the Donau-Auen National Park. They provide important terrestrial and aquatic habitats necessary for the life cycle of many amphibian species. The European fire-bellied toad, Bombina bombina, is one of those species. It reaches its westernmost distribution area in Austria and is listed as vulnerable (VU) in the Austrian Red List.

This study aims to compare two European fire-bellied toad populations in Obere Lobau, one from a more stable, predictable habitat, the other from a more dynamic, unpredictable one. Software supported image identification of photos of fire-bellied toads, gathered during seven years of field work, will be used to establish a database including the capture history of each individual animal that was captured and released over the studied period. In order to draw comparisons, capture-recapture models will be applied to calculate the probability of survival and recruitment for both populations separately. Potential differences will be interpreted in the context of the different habitat conditions of both populations.