Lindsey Gordon; Institute for Wildlife Studies; 140 H Street, Blue Lake, CA, 95525; (217) 827-5201; gordon@iws.org; Brian Hudgens, Jessica Abbott, Kelcy McHarry, Melissa Harbert
Climate change has been implicated in the decline and extirpation of numerous species and threatens the stability of biological communities around the globe. Amphibians, a taxonomic group dependent both on temperature for developmental processes and water for breeding habitats, face a diversity of threats involving climate change. The northern red-legged frog (Rana aurora), a California Species of Special Concern, will likely be impacted by climate change through increased temperatures and decreased precipitation in the western United States. The Institute for Wildlife Studies started collecting demographic data in northern California and central Oregon beginning in 2016 to examine how temperature and hydroperiods, seasonal patterns of water levels influence R. aurora tadpole development. We conducted a mark-recapture study of R. aurora tadpoles contained in field mesocosms at seven field sites to track tadpole development through metamorphosis. Temperature and drying rates, influencing water levels, varied among sites and years. We found that temperature influenced R. aurora developmental rates based on the time of season. Likewise, changes in water depth effect development of late stage tadpoles. Understanding how temperature and hydroperiods impact larval growth is an important component for managing and potentially mitigating the effects of climate change for amphibian conservation.
Ecology and Conservation of Amphibians and Reptiles II   Student Paper