State Water Resources Research Institute Program

Project ID: 2011NJ276B
Title: Assessment of Green Frog, Lithobates clamitans, populations as biological indicators of risk to communities near Superfund sites
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2011
End Date: 2/29/2012
Congressional District: NY-013
Focus Categories: Toxic Substances, Ecology, Conservation
Principal Investigators: Costello, Jennifer; Veit, Richard
Federal Funds: $ 5,000
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 10,193
Abstract: This proposal is to use Green Frogs as biological indicators of metal accumulation in wetlands of New Jersey. Novel to my project is the use of behavior as an index of toxicity. Anthropogenic disturbances to freshwater ecosystems are intensifying with the continued growth and expansion of the human population. Rapid identification of species or habitats most vulnerable to disturbance is therefore important for conservation. Biological indicators are species whose condition correlates with that of other taxa in the same location. This allows for observation of proxy organisms to reflect the condition of others sharing the same habitat. By monitoring several levels of biological organization in a species recognized as a biological indicator, early detection of adverse responses to hazardous conditions may be possible. Numerous studies attribute responses at single biological levels to metal exposure, however few studies have established if links exist between these biological levels. The proposed research will establish 1) which levels of biological organization are influenced by habitat degradation and 2) if a link exists between lower levels of biological organization, such as cellular abnormalities and metal accumulation, and upper levels of biological organization, such as feeding behavior and population composition.

Progress/Completion Report, 2011, PDF

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