Institute: North Dakota
Year Established: 2020 Start Date: 2020-02-29 End Date: 2021-02-27
Total Federal Funds: $4,489 Total Non-Federal Funds: $8,978
Principal Investigators: Craig Stockwell
Abstract: Agricultural land use has greatly expanded in the northern Great Plains and is continuing to replace natural prairie on the landscape. This conversion of prairie to cropland greatly influences the quality of water resources, e.g., wetlands, embedded in the converted landscape. In experimental settings, ecologically relevant concentrations of agricultural pollutants are known to have negative effects on wetland-dependent taxa, including amphibians. I will resurvey an area of the Prairie Pothole Region where amphibian habitat suitability was assessed in 2008-2009 and has undergone extensive land use change in the past decade. This study provides a unique opportunity to assess how recent trends in land use have affected wetland habitat quality in the northern Great Plains. Additionally, I will use modern single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) based molecular-genetics techniques to analyze genetic variation within northern leopard frog populations in North Dakota. When combined with landscape data, the genetic information can be used to develop a model of connectivity to identify focal wetlands for appropriate management and conservation. Additionally, scanning for associations between genomic data, water quality and agricultural intensity can reveal insights into selective pressures faced by amphibians in an agriculture-dominated landscape. This information is necessary to assess how well the water resources of North Dakota can continue to support biotic resources under pressure from agricultural expansion.