Long-term observations of Boreal Toads at an ARMI apex site
The U.S. Geological Survey’s Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative (ARMI) is a national project with goals to monitor the status and trends of amphibians, conduct research on causes of declines, and provide information and support to management agencies for conservation of amphibian populations. ARMI activities are organized around extensive inventories and place-based monitoring (such as collaboration with the Greater Yellowstone Inventory and Monitoring Network), and intensive population studies and research at selected locations (apex sites). One such site is an oxbow pond on the Buffalo Fork near the Black Rock Ranger Station east of Grand Teton National Park. We have been conducting mark-recapture of boreal toads (Anaxyrus boreas) at Black Rock since 2002. In concert with studies of other toad populations in the Rocky Mountains, we have documented a high rate of incidence of the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) and a negative rate of growth of the toad population, but not the population crash or extinction observed in other populations with high prevalence of Bd. Long-term observations at other ARMI apex sites have proven invaluable for studying effects of climate change on amphibian behavior, and the Black Rock site has been upgraded with onsite recording of weather data and auditory monitoring of other amphibian species. Continued research at Black Rock will be critical for understanding the interrelated effects of climate and disease on amphibians in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
|Long-term observations of Boreal Toads at an ARMI apex site
|Paul Stephen Corn, Erin L. Muths, David S. Pilliod
|USGS Publications Warehouse
|Fort Collins Science Center