Blake Hossack's research is focused on measuring population and community responses to climate change, energy development, invasive species, and wetland mitigation and management
Ph.D. Fish and Wildlife Biology. 2011. University of Montana, Missoula
M.S. Wildlife Biology. 1998. University of Idaho, Moscow
B.S. Wildlife Biology. 1996. University of Montana, Missoula
Most of Blake's research is focused on wetlands and amphibians, with long-term research areas in the Crown of the Continent Ecosystem (Montana), Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (Wyoming), southern Arizona and Mexico, the northern Great Plains, and the subarctic (Manitoba). To improve conservation success, Blake has increasingly sought to integrate research into management applications. He is stationed at the University of Montana in Missoula, Montana, where he coordinates activities for the Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative (ARMI).
Current Research Projects:
- Long-term research on amphibians and wetlands in the Desert Southwest, Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, and Crown of the Continent Ecosystem
- Effects of disease on imperiled amphibian populations
- Designing citizen science programs for research on effects of climate change on wetland communities in the Canadian Subarctic
- Measurement of the threat of climate to aquatic species, their capacity for local adaptation, and adaptive management to reduce threats.
- Integrating metapopulation ecology and landscape ecology for improved population viability analysis and conservation decision-making.
- Quantifying the ecological value of mitigation and other constructed wetlands
- Informing recovery of threatened and endangered amphibians in the US-Mexico Borderlands
- Effects of energy development on wetland communities in the Prairie Pothole Region
- Using environmental DNA (eDNA) to detect and monitor pathogens and rare herpetofauna
- Documenting responses of aquatic communities to installation of beaver dam analog structures in headwater streams in prairie and sagebrush lands
Science and Products
Climate Science and Adaptation Planning Support for State Wildlife Action Plans (SWAPs) in the North Central Region
Western Waters Invasive Species and Disease Research Program
Modeling Colonization of a Population of Chiricahua Leopard Frogs
Amphibian Chytrid Fungus Sampling in Arizona and Mexico
Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative: Rocky Mountain Region
RARMI: Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center (NOROCK) Apex Sites
Elucidating mechanisms underlying amphibian declines in North America using hierarchical spatial models
Metal concentrations in sediment and amphibian tissues from wetlands sampled across the United States
Mark-recapture data for a boreal toad metapopulation at the Lost Trail National Wildlife Refuge, Montana (2003-2018)
Boreal toad survival data in relation to Bd status and community composition
Amphibian capture mark-recapture
Chloride in water, metals in sediment and amphibian tissues and amphibian capture information from wetlands in the Williston Basin of Montana and North Dakota, 2015-2017
Demography and habitat use of boreal toads (Anaxyrus boreas) and other amphibians in northern Wyoming (Blackrock).
Robert Fire Montana Tailed Frog Data 2001-2015
Amphibian acoustic data from the Arizona 1, Pinenut, and Canyon breccia pipe uranium mines in Arizona.
Cryptic declines of small, cold-water specialists highlight potential vulnerabilities of headwater streams as climate refugia
Empirical evidence for effects of invasive American Bullfrogs on occurrence of native amphibians and emerging pathogens
Integrating climate-informed planning into State Wildlife Action Plans in the north central United States
Testing whether adrenal steroids mediate phenotypic and physiologic effects of elevated salinity on larval tiger salamanders
Using physiological conditions to assess current and future habitat use of a Subarctic frog
Importance of local weather and environmental gradients on demography of a broadly distributed temperate frog
Looking ahead, guided by the past: The role of U.S. national parks in amphibian research and conservation
Identifying factors linked with persistence of reintroduced populations: Lessons learned from 25 years of amphibian translocations
Multi-species amphibian monitoring across a protected landscape: Critical reflections on 15 years of wetland monitoring in Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks
Low occurrence of ranavirus in the Prairie Pothole Region of Montana and North Dakota (USA) contrasts with prior surveys
Effects of salinity and a glucocorticoid antagonist, RU486, on waterborne aldosterone and corticosterone of northern leopard frog larvae
Thermal conditions predict intraspecific variation in senescence rate in frogs and toads
Science and Products
Climate Science and Adaptation Planning Support for State Wildlife Action Plans (SWAPs) in the North Central RegionState Wildlife Action Plans are intended to provide proactive planning and guidance for the management of rare or imperiled species, including Species of Greatest Conservation Need. States must update their State Wildlife Action Plans every 10 years, but planners often lack the capacity or resources to integrate climate change into their planning. Revised State Wildlife Action Plans for most state
Western Waters Invasive Species and Disease Research ProgramResearchers at the Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center's Western Waters Invasive Species and Disease Research Program work extensively with federal, state, tribal, regional, and local partners to deliver science to improve early detection and prevention of invasive species and disease; understand complex interactions that promote invasive species and disease, and their impacts (and associated...
Modeling Colonization of a Population of Chiricahua Leopard FrogsManaging a species with intensive tools like reintroduction may focus on single sites or entire landscapes. For mobile species like the federally-threatened Chiricahua leopard frog (Lithobates chiricahuensis [CLF]), both suitable colonization sites and suitable dispersal corridors between sites are needed. Following the eradication of the invasive American bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus) from...
Amphibian Chytrid Fungus Sampling in Arizona and MexicoInformation on disease presence can be of use to natural resource managers, especially in areas supporting threatened and endangered species that occur coincidentally with species that are suspected vectors for disease. A general sense of pathogen presence (or absence) can inform management directed at threatened and endangered species, especially in regions where disease is suspected to have...
Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative: Rocky Mountain RegionThe Rocky Mountain Region of Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative (ARMI) encompasses Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico. Two USGS Science Centers initiate and develop ARMI projects in this region. Investigations at NOROCK are headed by Dr. Blake Hossack. Investigations at the Fort Collins Science Center (FORT), Colorado, are headed by Dr. Erin Muths. The ARMI program is based on a...
RARMI: Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center (NOROCK) Apex SitesIn contrast to RARMI study areas in Colorado that have 10 or more years of records of continuous population monitoring, there are fewer long-term datasets for amphibian populations in the northern Rocky Mountains. The exception is an ongoing study of Columbia spotted frogs at Lodge Creek, Yellowstone National Park. Three other long-term research and monitoring areas have been established in the...
Elucidating mechanisms underlying amphibian declines in North America using hierarchical spatial modelsAmphibian populations are declining globally at unprecedented rates but statistically rigorous identification of mechanisms is lacking. Identification of reasons underlying large-scale declines is imperative to plan and implement effective conservation efforts. Most research on amphibian population decline has focused on local populations and local factors. However, the ubiquity of declines across
Metal concentrations in sediment and amphibian tissues from wetlands sampled across the United StatesThe data presented include concentrations of 10 metals in sediments and composite larval amphibian tissues from 20 wetlands across the United States. Sixteen of the wetlands were sampled in 2019 and four were sampled in 2015-2016. Where possible both larval anurans (frogs and toads) and salamanders were collected from each wetland. The data also include information on metal concentrations in amphi
Mark-recapture data for a boreal toad metapopulation at the Lost Trail National Wildlife Refuge, Montana (2003-2018)From 2003-2018, USGS researchers and collaborators conducted mark-recapture studies of the boreal toad at the Lost Trail National Wildlife Refuge in northwestern Montana, USA. The datasets included here contain information on individual toad capture history, body size, and disease status. These data were collected annually over the 16-year period at up to 11 breeding sites per year on the refuge.
Boreal toad survival data in relation to Bd status and community compositionThese data represent capture mark recapture data from toads, and results of testing for Bd (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) the pathogen that causes amphibian chytridiomycosis on individuals. The data span from 2004-2016 at three sites in Montana where boreal toads were declining. The data also include temperature measurements at the sites and information on the egg counts and Bd prevalence from C
Amphibian capture mark-recaptureThese data represent capture mark recapture data along with associated disease status for boreal toads (Anaxyrus boreas) from Wyoming and Montana from 2004-2016 and four frog species (Rana draytonii, R. muscosa, R. pretiosa, R. sierrae) from 2001-2016.
Chloride in water, metals in sediment and amphibian tissues and amphibian capture information from wetlands in the Williston Basin of Montana and North Dakota, 2015-2017The data presented includes chloride concentration and specific conductance in surface water collected from 33 wetlands in the Williston Basin of Montana and North Dakota, 2015-2017 as well as count data for three species of amphibians captured at each wetland. Data also includes concentrations of metals in bed sediment and larval amphibians collected from 32 and 12 wetlands, respectively in 2015-
Demography and habitat use of boreal toads (Anaxyrus boreas) and other amphibians in northern Wyoming (Blackrock).Amphibian decline is a problem of global importance, with over 40% of species considered at risk. This phenomenon is not limited to the tropics or to other countries. Amphibian species in the U.S. are also declining, contributing to the larger, global phenomenon. For example, in the State of Wyoming, the Wyoming toad has been extirpated in the wild and the boreal toad is a species of special conce
Robert Fire Montana Tailed Frog Data 2001-2015The data represent counts of Rocky Mountain Tailed Frog larvae from 8 streams in Glacier National Park, Montana. Each stream was surveyed during 5 different years. We originally sampled the eight streams during June 2001 to evaluate a time-constrained method for potential inclusion in a monitoring program. We sampled streams by turning rocks and disturbing the substrate in front of D-frame nets fo
Amphibian acoustic data from the Arizona 1, Pinenut, and Canyon breccia pipe uranium mines in Arizona.USGS is currently conducting biological surveys associated with uranium mines on federal lands in Arizona. These surveys include determining the composition of the local amphibian community at Canyon, Arizona 1, and Pinenut mines near the Grand Canyon. To aid in determining the amphibian species present at each mine site, we used acoustic monitoring recorded with a SM3Song Meter (Wildlife Acoustic
Filter Total Items: 96
Cryptic declines of small, cold-water specialists highlight potential vulnerabilities of headwater streams as climate refugiaIncreasing temperatures and climate-driven disturbances like wildfire are a growing threat to many species, including cold-water specialists. Montane areas and cold streams are often considered climate refugia that buffer communities against change. However, climate refugia are often species-specific, and despite growing awareness that life histories and habitat requirements shape responses to cha
Empirical evidence for effects of invasive American Bullfrogs on occurrence of native amphibians and emerging pathogensInvasive species and emerging infectious diseases are two of the greatest threats to biodiversity. American Bullfrogs (Rana [Lithobates] catesbeiana), which have been introduced to many parts of the world, are often linked with declines of native amphibians via predation and spreading emerging pathogens such as amphibian chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis [Bd]) and ranaviruses. Althoug
Integrating climate-informed planning into State Wildlife Action Plans in the north central United StatesState fish and wildlife agencies are required to submit a State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) every 10 years to be eligible for grants through the State Wildlife Grant Program. With the next round of revisions due in 2025, the U.S. Geological Survey North Central Climate Adaptation Science Center is evaluating how to best support states with further integrating climate-informed planning in their SWA
Testing whether adrenal steroids mediate phenotypic and physiologic effects of elevated salinity on larval tiger salamandersSalinity (sodium chloride, NaCl) from anthropogenic sources is a persistent contaminant that negatively affects freshwater taxa. Amphibians can be susceptible to salinity, but some species are innately or adaptively tolerant. Physiological mechanisms mediating tolerance to salinity are still unclear, but changes in osmoregulatory hormones such as corticosterone (CORT) and aldosterone (ALDO) are pr
Using physiological conditions to assess current and future habitat use of a Subarctic frogSpecies with especially close dependence on the environment to meet physiological requirements, such as ectotherms, are highly susceptible to the impacts of climate change. Climate change is occurring rapidly in the Subarctic and Arctic, but there is limited knowledge on ectotherm physiology in these landscapes. We investigated how environmental conditions and habitat characteristics influence the
Importance of local weather and environmental gradients on demography of a broadly distributed temperate frogAmphibian populations are sensitive to environmental temperatures and moisture, which vary with local weather conditions and may reach new norms and extremes as contemporary climate change progresses. Using long-term (11–16 years) mark-recapture data from 10 populations of the Columbia spotted frog (Rana luteiventris) from across its U.S. range, we addressed hypotheses about how demographic relati
Looking ahead, guided by the past: The role of U.S. national parks in amphibian research and conservationProtected areas like national parks are essential elements of conservation because they limit human influence on the landscape, which protects biodiversity and ecosystem function. The role of national parks in conservation, however, often goes far beyond limiting human influence. The U.S. National Park Service and its system of land units contribute substantively to conservation by providing prote
Identifying factors linked with persistence of reintroduced populations: Lessons learned from 25 years of amphibian translocationsConservation translocations are increasingly used to help recover imperiled species. However, success of establishing populations remains low, especially for amphibians. Identifying factors associated with translocation success can help increase efficiency and efficacy of recovery efforts. Since the 1990s, several captive and semi-captive facilities have produced Chiricahua Leopard Frogs (Rana chi
Multi-species amphibian monitoring across a protected landscape: Critical reflections on 15 years of wetland monitoring in Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parksWidespread amphibian declines were well documented at the end of the 20th century, raising concerns about the need to identify individual and interactive contributors to this global trend. At the same time, there was growing interest in the use of amphibians as ecological indicators. In the United States, wetland and amphibian monitoring programs were launched in some national parks as a necessary
Low occurrence of ranavirus in the Prairie Pothole Region of Montana and North Dakota (USA) contrasts with prior surveysRanaviruses are emerging pathogens that have caused mortality events in amphibians worldwide. Despite the negative effects of ranaviruses on amphibian populations, monitoring efforts are still lacking in many areas, including in the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) of North America. Some PPR wetlands in Montana and North Dakota (USA) have been contaminated by energy-related saline wastewaters, and inc
Effects of salinity and a glucocorticoid antagonist, RU486, on waterborne aldosterone and corticosterone of northern leopard frog larvaeIncreased salinity is an emerging contaminant of concern for aquatic taxa. For amphibians exposed to salinity, there is scarce information about the physiological effects and changes in osmoregulatory hormones such as corticosterone (CORT) and aldosterone (ALDO). Recent studies have quantified effects of salinity on CORT physiology of amphibians based on waterborne hormone collection methods, but
Thermal conditions predict intraspecific variation in senescence rate in frogs and toadsVariation in temperature is known to influence mortality patterns in ectotherms. Even though a few experimental studies on model organisms have reported a positive relationship between temperature and actuarial senescence (i.e., the increase in mortality risk with age), how variation in climate influences the senescence rate across the range of a species is still poorly understood in free-ranging