Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2011NJ276B

Assessment of Green Frog, Lithobates clamitans, populations as biological indicators of risk to communities near Superfund sites

Institute: New Jersey
Year Established: 2011 Start Date: 2011-03-01 End Date: 2012-02-29
Total Federal Funds: $5,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $10,193

Principal Investigators: Jennifer Costello, Richard Veit

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.