Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2018ND344B

Landscape Genetics of Northern Leopard Frog (Rana pipiens) to Evaluate Biotic Connectivity and Environmental Quality of North Dakota Wetland Resources

Institute: North Dakota
Year Established: 2018 Start Date: 2018-03-01 End Date: 2019-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $9,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $18,000

Principal Investigators: Craig Stockwell

Abstract: The northern leopard frog, though common in North Dakota, has become imperiled throughout the western portion of its range due to climatic stressors and loss of habitat from land-use change. How these factors affect connectivity and gene flow among populations in the Great Plains region have not been adequately studied, as land-use change and climate fluctuations are likely to have substantial effects on the stability of amphibian populations in this region in the future. Using modern SNP-based molecular-genetics techniques to reveal fine-scale genetic variation within northern leopard frog populations, the biotic connectivity of wetlands in the northern prairie region can be assessed. When combined with landscape data, the genetic information can identify focal wetlands and critical matrix habitat for appropriate management and conservation. This research also plans to sample across areas with unique hydrologic connectivity, giving insight into the roles water resources play in the biotic connectivity of amphibian populations and assessing how strategies for maintaining genetic connectivity might change in areas with differing availability of aquatic habitats. In turn, this information provides insights on the biotic connectedness among the various aquatic habitats in North Dakota.