Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative
This is a nationally-funded USGS project that began in 2000. It is a multi-faceted approach that includes monitoring of species across landscapes (using occupancy as the metric), more intensive local population studies, and research into causes of amphibian decline. At ALWRI, we participate in long-term monitoring of the National Parks on the Continental Divide, conduct acoustic monitoring and population estimation at several sites, and conduct research on effects of fire, introduced fish, disease, and climate change.
Why conduct amphibian research at a research center devoted to wilderness? Although amphibian diversity in western wilderness is typically low, amphibians occupy important ecological niches, and declines have been excessively severe in the western U.S. This includes designated wilderness and backcountry areas of National Parks, which are generally considered to be refuges for protecting species. Amphibian decline has emerged as a major global conservation issue in the last 20 years.
Adams MJ, Miller DAW, Muths E, Corn PS, Grant EHC, Bailey LL, Fellers G, Fisher RN, Sadinski WJ, Waddle H, Walls SC. 2013. Trends in amphibian occupancy in the United States. PLoS ONE 8(5): e64347.
Corn PS, Muths E, Kissel AM, Scherer RD. 2011. Breeding chorus indices are weakly related to estimated abundance of boreal chorus frogs. Copeia 2011:365–371.
Gould WR, Patla DA, Daley R, Corn PS, Hossack BR, Bennetts R, Peterson CR. 2012. Estimating occupancy in large landscapes: evaluation of amphibian monitoring in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Wetlands 32:379–389.
Nussear KE, Tracy CR, Medica PA, Wilson DS, Marlow RW, Corn PS. 2012. Translocation as a conservation tool for desert tortoises: survivorship, reproduction, and movements. Journal of Wildlife Management 76:1341–1353.
Pilliod DS, Hossack BR, Bahls PF, Bull EL, Corn PS, Hokit G, Maxell BA, Munger JC, Murphy P, Wyrick A. 2010. Non-native salmonids affect amphibian occupancy at multiple spatial scales. Diversity and Distributions 16:959–974.
Pilliod DS, Muths E, Scherer RD, Bartelt PE, Corn PS, Hossack BR, Lambert BA, McCaffery R, Gaughan C. 2010. Effects of amphibian chytrid fungus on individual survival probability in wild boreal toads. Conservation Biology 24:1259–1267.