Wood Frogs as Environmental Indicators?

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MCHerper
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Joined: September 22nd, 2012, 5:13 pm

Wood Frogs as Environmental Indicators?

Post by MCHerper » October 29th, 2014, 10:23 am

Hi Folks,

Something very interesting happened recently and I wanted the input of the experts on here as to whether I am interpreting this correctly. I was recently walking in a rather small patch of woods in a suburban neighborhood in a neighboring county. This patch of woods is reputed to be heavily polluted, a former dumping site where there are supposedly residual heavy metals and polyaromatic hydrocarbons present. I was interested in taking a look at the property and maybe giving it a quick survey next year to see what might be there, since, again, it is supposedly very polluted. I actually found two redbacked salamanders and heard some peeper vocalizations there, but most interesting to me was finding a wood frog. It was near a standing pool of water that looked a bit stagnant and had a film on top of it, but was the only body of water present and the only indication of anything that could have been a vernal pool. The alleged dumping took place 2 decades ago, so I am wondering if a) successful cleanup efforts took place, or b) the wood frog is more resilient to pollution than I suspected. This is very interesting to me and it would be very encouraging to me to find out that wood frogs are a good environmental indicator and that this site is not as polluted as suspected. Could anyone share some info about this?

Thanks for your input!

MCHerper

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spinifer
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Location: Delmarva

Re: Wood Frogs as Environmental Indicators?

Post by spinifer » October 30th, 2014, 6:22 am

PM Matt J, he did his MS thesis on this topic.

MCHerper
Posts: 443
Joined: September 22nd, 2012, 5:13 pm

Re: Wood Frogs as Environmental Indicators?

Post by MCHerper » November 3rd, 2014, 7:20 am

Will do, thanks!

JohnU
Posts: 21
Joined: March 26th, 2011, 3:12 pm

Re: Wood Frogs as Environmental Indicators?

Post by JohnU » November 13th, 2014, 9:50 pm

Something to consider is that just because an animal is found in a certain habitat does not necessarily mean that it is good habitat.

Some habitats are better than others. Really good habitat may produce more individuals of a species than that area can support and some of those individuals may spill over into neighboring, "crappy" habitat. This is the concept of source-sink dynamics used in metapopulation ecology. A "source" is a good habitat area that produces a surplus and a "sink" is crappy habitat that animals move into but conditions are not optimal for reproduction.

If I were you, I would go back this summer and see if you can find recent metamorph wood frogs in the area. I suspect that the eggs and tadpoles are much more susceptible to environmental contaminates and the presence of metamorphs would be a much better indicator of a healthy habitat.

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