UW Bothell Wetlands Amphibian Inventory

Posted 2 years ago by Caren Crandell

School(s) : Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, STEM
Primary PI Name : Caren Crandell
Email : carenjc@uw.edu
Research Location : UW Bothell
Project Goals : Purpose: Performing an inventory of amphibians found in the UW Bothell wetlands is important for many reasons, both large and small scale. -Adding information to the geospacial database: research from multiple different studies in the wetlands is currently being compiled into a geospacial database, where sightings and communities of plants and animals are available to other students. -Collecting preliminary data: There has never been a formal inventorying procedure for amphibians in these wetlands. The data collected in this study will serve as a baseline for monitoring these amphibians. -Learning the ecological state of the site: Amphibians are known environmental indicators, as they spend a large portion of their lives in water and rely partially on their skin to breathe as adults. Knowing which species inhabit the wetlands is important in understanding the health of the system. This inventory will ideally be continued throughout the year in order to record the presence of each amphibian’s specific life stages. Previous Results: In the few weeks since the inventory began (Spring 2015), several amphibian species had been identified either by sight or sound. Coverboards often need several months for occupants to appear and each PVC-coverboard pair must be checked, but random walks gave immediate results. 1. Pacific Treefrog (Pseudocris regilla): Adults, hatchlings, and eggs were all identified through sight (or sound, in the case of breeding adult males and they possess a distinct call). Each identification was made during random walks through the site. 2. American Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana): Juveniles were identified through sight and the specific call they give when startled before jumping in the water. These frogs are an introduced species and have been present during each random walk, often in small groups. 3. Western Long-toed Salamander (Ambystoma macrodactylum): Both adults and eggs were identified through sight on random walks. The eggs were found along the edges of small ponds, whereas the adults were found in large, decaying logs in moist, shaded areas.
Student Qualifications : Motivated, curious students who like to be outdoors.
Student Outcomes : Methods: 1. Coverboards: Plywood, placed flat on ground in leaf litter in primarily shaded areas and paired with PCS pipes. Should be damp, but somewhat elevated to prevent wet conditions unsuitable for salamanders. There are already coverboards in the wetlands, and they will need to be lifted up and checked under. 2. PVC Pipes: Hung vertically from nail on hardwood trees near water body and paired with coverboard. Expected occupants are Pacific treefrogs, which are often found in similar structures and have been found successfully through this method in previous studies. Student may need to carry a small stepstool/ladder into the wetlands to view inside the pipes to see if there are frogs present. 3. Random walks: Done in no set location in the site. Consists of walking though site with careful observation. Objects (decaying logs and rocks) may be lifted of searched and returned to original position with care. A camera or video is recommended to bring. 4. Dipnetting: Students will use large adjustable mesh dipnets, slowly moved through water of ponds and lakes to catch adult or larval amphibians. 5. Funnel traps: minnow traps or plastic bottles with inverted bottle neck on each end facing inward to capture amphibian larvae. Students will place in shallow water in vegetation to anchor down trap. 6. Transects: Several-meter distances from one point to another along lake and pond edges, areas of leaf litter, and other locations amphibians are likely to be present.
Student Responsibilities : Students will work with Professor Crandell and decide on the best methods to use for the season.
Time Frame : Spring and summer quarters are best.
Biology

  • School(s) : Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, STEM
  • Primary PI Name : Caren Crandell
  • Interested? Contact Faculty Researcher by Email : carenjc@uw.edu
  • Research Location : UW Bothell
  • Project Goals : Purpose: Performing an inventory of amphibians found in the UW Bothell wetlands is important for many reasons, both large and small scale. -Adding information to the geospacial database: research from multiple different studies in the wetlands is currently being compiled into a geospacial database, where sightings and communities of plants and animals are available to other students. -Collecting preliminary data: There has never been a formal inventorying procedure for amphibians in these wetlands. The data collected in this study will serve as a baseline for monitoring these amphibians. -Learning the ecological state of the site: Amphibians are known environmental indicators, as they spend a large portion of their lives in water and rely partially on their skin to breathe as adults. Knowing which species inhabit the wetlands is important in understanding the health of the system. This inventory will ideally be continued throughout the year in order to record the presence of each amphibian's specific life stages. Previous Results: In the few weeks since the inventory began (Spring 2015), several amphibian species had been identified either by sight or sound. Coverboards often need several months for occupants to appear and each PVC-coverboard pair must be checked, but random walks gave immediate results. 1. Pacific Treefrog (Pseudocris regilla): Adults, hatchlings, and eggs were all identified through sight (or sound, in the case of breeding adult males and they possess a distinct call). Each identification was made during random walks through the site. 2. American Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana): Juveniles were identified through sight and the specific call they give when startled before jumping in the water. These frogs are an introduced species and have been present during each random walk, often in small groups. 3. Western Long-toed Salamander (Ambystoma macrodactylum): Both adults and eggs were identified through sight on random walks. The eggs were found along the edges of small ponds, whereas the adults were found in large, decaying logs in moist, shaded areas.
  • Student Qualifications : Motivated, curious students who like to be outdoors.
  • Student Outcomes : Methods: 1. Coverboards: Plywood, placed flat on ground in leaf litter in primarily shaded areas and paired with PCS pipes. Should be damp, but somewhat elevated to prevent wet conditions unsuitable for salamanders. There are already coverboards in the wetlands, and they will need to be lifted up and checked under. 2. PVC Pipes: Hung vertically from nail on hardwood trees near water body and paired with coverboard. Expected occupants are Pacific treefrogs, which are often found in similar structures and have been found successfully through this method in previous studies. Student may need to carry a small stepstool/ladder into the wetlands to view inside the pipes to see if there are frogs present. 3. Random walks: Done in no set location in the site. Consists of walking though site with careful observation. Objects (decaying logs and rocks) may be lifted of searched and returned to original position with care. A camera or video is recommended to bring. 4. Dipnetting: Students will use large adjustable mesh dipnets, slowly moved through water of ponds and lakes to catch adult or larval amphibians. 5. Funnel traps: minnow traps or plastic bottles with inverted bottle neck on each end facing inward to capture amphibian larvae. Students will place in shallow water in vegetation to anchor down trap. 6. Transects: Several-meter distances from one point to another along lake and pond edges, areas of leaf litter, and other locations amphibians are likely to be present.
  • Student Responsibilities : Students will work with Professor Crandell and decide on the best methods to use for the season.
  • Number of Student Positions Available : Two students would be ideal to study in pairs in the wetlands
  • Time Frame : Spring and summer quarters are best.