Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2019ND207B

Influence of wetland water quality on amphibian stress and reproductive success in Eastern North Dakota

Institute: North Dakota
Year Established: 2019 Start Date: 2019-06-01 End Date: 2020-05-31
Total Federal Funds: $5,625 Total Non-Federal Funds: $11,250

Principal Investigators: Matthew Smith

Abstract: As amphibians continue to decline, conservation efforts are a necessity in management plans and it is essential to determine the causation between water characteristics, habitat alteration, and losses. North Dakota is a segment of the Prairie Pothole Region that provides habitat for a multitude of species that rely on these wetlands. Large portions of these diverse wetlands are being lost to agriculture at unprecedented rates and as a result, habitat for these species is becoming altered or disappearing completely. Call, larval, and visual encounter surveys will be conducted to distinguish the essential habitat characteristics that are crucial during each stage of amphibian development. In addition to collecting amphibian data, macro-habitat data, micro-habitat data, and water characteristics will be recorded at each site. Water characteristics collected will include, acidity (pH), dissolved oxygen, conductivity, ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, phosphates, iron, cooper, lead, and vegetation cover. Individuals that are captured will have their blood drawn to assess environmental stress. This study allows for a determination of breeding habitat preference in anuran species while assessing blood glucocorticoid levels throughout adult, metamorph, and larval individuals. Ultimately, this data will assess how North Dakota wetland condition influences amphibian stress and reproductive success.