Seasonal forest pools (SFPs) are geographically- and hydrologically-isolated ponded wetlands, in that they are topographically isolated from other surface waters. SFPs occur commonly throughout the temperate forests of the eastern United States and adjacent Canada. SFPs are ephemeral in occurrence, typically drying annually. The regular drying of SFPs excludes fish from these habitats, and as a result, they are the preferred breeding habitat of some amphibians, notably ambystomid (‘mole’) salamanders and wood frogs (Rana sylvatica Le Conte). The pools also support a rich and diverse invertebrate fauna. The duration of the wet phase, or hydroperiod of SFPs, has been repeatedly shown to be the dominant influence on the composition and fitness of the faunal community of the pools. Despite the importance of SFP hydrology, it is a poorly studied subject. This paper reviews the limited state-of-knowledge of seasonal forest pool hydrology and associated basin morphology. The review discusses findings from studies of other isolated ponded wetlands that could be applicable to our understanding of the hydrology of SFPs.
Keywords: Amphibians - Aquatic invertebrates - Hydrology - Hydroperiod - Seasonal forest pools - Woodland vernal pools