Institute: North Dakota
Year Established: 2020 Start Date: 2020-02-29 End Date: 2021-02-27
Total Federal Funds: $3,289 Total Non-Federal Funds: $6,578
Principal Investigators: Matthew Smith
Abstract: Increased salt use is proving to be problematic for surrounding environments and its inhabitants, specifically amphibians. As salt is difficult to remove from the environment, evidence of long-term salt loading is emerging throughout a variety of habitats. This evidence, paired with amphibian habitat loss to urbanization, perpetuated by fragmentation, has potential to increase their exposure to salinity contaminated water. Through this research, wetlands across the Red River Valley will be measured and monitored for salinity levels starting in March lasting until August of 2020. In addition, starting in the spring of 2020 amphibian egg clutches will be exposed to various salinity concentrations within a lab-controlled environment to fully understand the effects of North Dakotaâ€™s salinity levels on developing amphibians. Decreased hatch success, delayed development, increased mortality, and increased malformations are expected to be observed when exposing eggs to various concentrations of salinity. Furthermore, sites within the Red River Valley are expected to have a decrease in salinity initially during the spring, due to snowmelt, but salinity levels are expected to increase as water evaporates during the summer. These results would display the impacts of saline water characteristics on local amphibians, while also collecting data on the Red River Valley wetlands.