RSC Vernal Pond Amphibian Survey
ROBERT BUNIS, LISA BUYOFSKY, TYLER MARTZOur study was conducted during a dry, cold spring compared to other years of this amphibian study on the RichardStockton campus. We collected data to compare to previous years of study to find whether or not the frogs returnedto the same ponds and if there was a shift in any of the species’ populations. Results from 2007, 2009, and 2010studies provided the background for our study, especially focusing on 2010. Frog activity and water samples wererecorded from seven different vernal ponds on campus in April. We found that frog populations chose the deepervernal pools this year, and there were fewer frogs found than in 2010.
Since this spring of 2011 was significantly cooler and drier than last year, will the frogs change their most populated areasof spawning? Did any of the frog populations change in numbers due to the colder weather and lower water levels?
The previous years of study each had particularly different situations. In 2010, the study focused on the factor that it was avery flooded spring season, which brought unique results regarding frogs changing populated locations from the previousyear. This study included counts of frog calls, frog collection, and water samples. The 2009 article studied a specific pondand focused on species diversity versus frog calls. Influencing factors on the amphibians, including physical conditions thatwere both natural and unnatural, were observed. The 2007 article was the first frog study, which included four differentvernal pools. Their focus was on whether or not water conductivity and acidity affect the species of frogs found. The frogswere recorded based on their calls.
We believe that the frogs will not return to the same areas as the 2010 season in the same quantities, since this spring issignificantly drier. The frogs will most likely be concentrated in the deeper vernal pools (E and F). Some of the vernalpools may be dried up completely. Populations may decrease because of the dry weather and less places to spawn, andconductivity will affect the amount and type of frogs in the vernal pool.
We planned to visit each vernal pond and take counts of each frog population. The data was collected at sundown onwarmer days. Variables included frog calls, depths of the vernal pools, and water samples including temperature, pH, andconductivity. The recordings that we took were specific to helping us figure out the overall population, reasons behind it,and why or why not the frogs moved.
Study areas included vernal ponds E, F, I, J, K, M, N, and P.