Climate change is an increasing threat to amphibians in the Midwest. Changes in temperature and precipitation regimes are being linked to amphibian declines. Additionally, impacts from habitat loss, UV exposure, and contaminants are altering the success of breeding amphibians. Surveys conducted on the campus of Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville in Edwardsville, Illinois were done to determine what species diversity and abundance should look like in relatively undisturbed breeding ponds in southwestern Illinois. Surveys were used to compare diversity and abundance between ponds and years. Additionally, the southern leopard frog and gray treefrog were selected as the most well represented species in the study and thus abundance and length comparisons were examined across ponds and years. Finally, temperature and precipitation were analyzed to see effects on the two focal species. Eleven species of amphibians were found in the study area with two salamander species and nine frog species. The permanent ponds had higher species diversity and abundance versus the temporary ponds. Of the permanent ponds, the open canopy pond had slightly higher species richness and the enclosed canopy pond had higher abundance. 2015 had the highest species richness, while 2016 had the highest abundance with 2017 having the lowest species richness and abundance. There were more southern leopard frog captures in the enclosed pond and they were most common in 2016. Gray treefrogs were most common in the open pond and were caught most frequently in 2015. The temporary pond had the fewest captures among the three pond types, while 2017 had the fewest captures among the three years for both species. The longest tadpoles appeared to occur in the enclosed pond for both species, except with tadpoles at developmental “Gosner stage 20s”, which appeared longer in the open pond. The temporary ponds appeared to have the shortest tadpoles. Temperature and precipitation varied a little, but breeding times generally were consistent and associated with precipitation events more so than temperature. Southern leopard frogs showed a breeding event in the fall corresponding to unusually high temperatures and increased precipitation. Lower precipitation likely resulted in lower diversity and abundance in 2017. Future studies should look at pond chemistry with water quality tests included to test for pH and contaminant levels. This study serves as a potential baseline for how amphibian populations should look in minimally disturbed amphibian breeding ponds.
|Commitee:||Greenfield, Ben, Essner, Richard|
|School:||Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville|
|School Location:||United States -- Illinois|
|Source:||MAI 81/7(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Environmental science, Conservation biology, Ecology, Environmental management|
|Keywords:||Amphibian diversity, Amphibian abundance, Permanent pond, Temporary pond|
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