First Regional Trends in Anuran Occupancy Published with Support from RCN Grants Program
Researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center presented their findings from the North American Amphibian Monitoring Program (NAAMP), a long-term monitoring program that uses data collected by users at roadside locations using a calling survey technique. The data were collected from 11 Northeastern states over 11 years, and represent the first regional, long-term assessments of frogs and amphibians. The manuscript, published in the journal of Herpetological Conservation and Biology, was supported from a 2010 Regional Conservation Needs Grants program award.
The NAAMP uses standardized methods to monitor anurans and collect the data for regional and long-term population trend analysis. The goal of the program is provide information to help inform conservation of frogs and toads. Between 2001 and 2011, surveys were conducted along random roadside routes where observers identified species by their unique breeding vocalizations. The surveys took place in Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia. Northeast regional occupancy trends were reported for 17 species. Seven species show decreasing trends: A. fowleri (Fowler’s toad), A. crepitans (Northern cricket frog), P. brachyphona (Mountain chorus frog), P. feriarum-kalmi complex (Chorus frogs), L. palustris (Pickerel frog), L. pipiens (Northern leopard frog), and L. sphenocephalus (Southern leopard frog) and one exhibited an increasing trend (H. versicolorchrysoscelis complex (Gray treefrogs).
The study indicates an overall decline in frogs and amphibians in the northeast region. Species population trends are also evaluated within states. This information can help northeastern states revise their State Wildlife Action Plans and inform regional conservation efforts for anurans. This valuable long-term dataset is continuing to grow as additional states are participating. The link to the full article is available here, more information on the RCN funded study can be found here.