Presenter Information

Chelsea Kross

Department

Biological Sciences

Degree

Graduate

Mentor Department

<-- Please Select Department -->

Abstract

Hundreds of wetlands have been constructed as permanent water sources in a ridge-top ecosystem in eastern Kentucky where there were naturally only ephemeral wetlands. Consequently, the ecosystem was colonized by an amphibian community of species with a =period that requires a long hydroperiod (e.g., Newts) and many that are top amphibian predators. In contrast, the natural ephemeral wetlands support amphibians with a shorter larval period (e.g., Wood Frogs). Some ephemeral wetland species will breed in constructed wetlands; thus, there could be negative impacts on these species. Our objectives were to: (1) determine if species of the ephemeral and constructed amphibian communities interact, and (2) evaluate positive and negative impacts on these communities. We selected Eastern Newts (Notophthalmus viridescens) and Wood Frogs (Lithobates sylvaticus) to represent the constructed and natural amphibian communities, respectively. We sampled six constructed and six ephemeral wetlands throughout 2013 and 2014. We counted wood frog egg masses and estimated survival bi-weekly throughout the breeding season (February–May) at each wetland. Newt populations were sampled once in May, July, September, and November, 2013 and January, February, and March, 2014. Individuals were measured and weighed to determine body condition and individually marked using visual implant elastomer for recapture. Data suggest that wood frog reproductive success is negatively impacted when eggs are laid in constructed wetlands. Newts in constructed wetlands with Wood Frog eggs present had higher body condition. Understanding the impacts of how amphibian species interact as habitat loss and modification increase will continue to be critical for amphibian conservation.

Presentation format

Poster

Expected Graduation Date

2014

Share

COinS
 

Interactions between species in an anthropogenically altered ridge-top wetland ecosystem

Hundreds of wetlands have been constructed as permanent water sources in a ridge-top ecosystem in eastern Kentucky where there were naturally only ephemeral wetlands. Consequently, the ecosystem was colonized by an amphibian community of species with a =period that requires a long hydroperiod (e.g., Newts) and many that are top amphibian predators. In contrast, the natural ephemeral wetlands support amphibians with a shorter larval period (e.g., Wood Frogs). Some ephemeral wetland species will breed in constructed wetlands; thus, there could be negative impacts on these species. Our objectives were to: (1) determine if species of the ephemeral and constructed amphibian communities interact, and (2) evaluate positive and negative impacts on these communities. We selected Eastern Newts (Notophthalmus viridescens) and Wood Frogs (Lithobates sylvaticus) to represent the constructed and natural amphibian communities, respectively. We sampled six constructed and six ephemeral wetlands throughout 2013 and 2014. We counted wood frog egg masses and estimated survival bi-weekly throughout the breeding season (February–May) at each wetland. Newt populations were sampled once in May, July, September, and November, 2013 and January, February, and March, 2014. Individuals were measured and weighed to determine body condition and individually marked using visual implant elastomer for recapture. Data suggest that wood frog reproductive success is negatively impacted when eggs are laid in constructed wetlands. Newts in constructed wetlands with Wood Frog eggs present had higher body condition. Understanding the impacts of how amphibian species interact as habitat loss and modification increase will continue to be critical for amphibian conservation.