Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Could Golf Courses Double As Wildlife Sanctuaries?

Date:
July 12, 2007
Source:
University of Missouri-Columbia
Summary:
Golf courses are known as centers for human recreation, but if managed properly, they also could be important wildlife sanctuaries, researchers suggest. The researchers' recommendations included buffering aquatic habitats from chemical runoff, surrounding wetland areas with 150 to 300 meters of forest or natural grassland, and creating a diversity of pond types that mimic natural wetlands.

Recommendations included buffering aquatic habitats from chemical runoff, surrounding wetland areas with 150 to 300 meters of forest or natural grassland, and creating a diversity of pond types that mimic natural wetlands.
Credit: iStockphoto/Michael Braun

Golf courses are known as centers for human recreation, but if managed properly, they also could be important wildlife sanctuaries, a University of Missouri-Columbia researcher has found.

"There are more than 17,000 golf courses in the United States, and approximately 70 percent of that land is not used for playing," said Ray Semlitsch, Curators' Professor of Biology in the MU College of Arts and Science. "These managed green spaces aren't surrogates for protected land and ecosystems, but they can include suitable habitat for species native to the area. Golf courses could act as nature sanctuaries if managed properly."

Semlitsch, along with Michelle Boone, an assistant professor at Miami University in Ohio and former MU graduate student, and J. Russell Bodie, senior scientist for Audubon International, outlined recommendations that would improve golf course habitats for amphibian populations in a paper published in USGA Turfgrass and Environmental Research Online in January. Their recommendations included buffering aquatic habitats from chemical runoff, surrounding wetland areas with 150 to 300 meters of forest or natural grassland, and creating a diversity of pond types that mimic natural wetlands.

A recent study by Semlitsch, Boone and Cory Mosby, a senior at MU, built on these suggestions. They found that completely drying golf course ponds in the late summer or early fall would benefit amphibian populations and biodiversity.

"It's a hard concept for people to understand, but non-permanent wetlands are more natural than permanent wetlands. Most natural wetlands dry for some periods of time, and the species that live in them are well-adapted for this. The natural drying process benefits amphibians, and it releases nutrients from the soil. Maintaining permanent ponds actually harms biodiversity," Semlitsch said.

In the study, the researchers used two types of ponds - control reference ponds and ponds located on golf courses - to monitor populations of American toads, southern leopard frogs and spotted salamanders. They found that the American toads, southern leopard frogs and spotted salamanders survived better in the golf course ponds than in the control ponds, probably because of a reduced number of insect predators. They also found that these species survived better in the absence of overwintered bullfrog tadpoles, which are common to permanent golf course ponds and act as unnatural predators and competitors.

Semlitsch said this shows that greater biodiversity can be achieved by eliminating bullfrog tadpoles. Because bullfrog cycles of metamorphosis take longer to complete (typically 12 months) than the cycles of other amphibians (typically one to four months), the bullfrog tadpoles have advantages in permanent ponds and can grow larger and more powerful, nudging out other species. By drying golf course ponds in the early fall, the tadpoles can be eliminated,

Semlitsch, Boone and Mosby's study will be published later this year in the journal Conservation Biology. It was supported by the United States Golf Association and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Missouri-Columbia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Missouri-Columbia. "Could Golf Courses Double As Wildlife Sanctuaries?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 July 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070711105801.htm>.
University of Missouri-Columbia. (2007, July 12). Could Golf Courses Double As Wildlife Sanctuaries?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070711105801.htm
University of Missouri-Columbia. "Could Golf Courses Double As Wildlife Sanctuaries?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070711105801.htm (accessed July 27, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
What's To Blame For Worst Ebola Outbreak In History?

What's To Blame For Worst Ebola Outbreak In History?

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A U.S. doctor has tested positive for the deadly Ebola virus, as the worst-ever outbreak continues to grow. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The New York Times Backs Pot Legalization

The New York Times Backs Pot Legalization

Newsy (July 27, 2014) The New York Times has officially endorsed the legalization of marijuana, but why now, and to what end? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins