By C. Kenneth Dodd, Jr.
U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1258
This report is available in pdf format below.
Amphibian species have inexplicably declined or disappeared in many regions of the world, and in some instances, serious malformations have been observed. In the United States, amphibian declines frequently have occurred even in protected areas. Causes for the declines and malformations probably are varied and may not even be related. The seemingly sudden declines in widely separated areas, however, suggests a need to monitor amphibian populations as well as identify the causes when declines or malformations are discovered.
In 2000, the President of the United States and Congress directed Department of the Interior (DOI) agencies to develop a plan to monitor the trends in amphibian populations on DOI lands and to conduct causes of declines. The DOI has stewardship responsibilities over vast land holdings in the United States, much of it occupied by, or potential habitat for, amphibians. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) was given lead responsibility for planning and organizing this program, named the Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative (ARMI). Authorization carried the mandate to set up a national amphibian monitoring program on Federal lands, to develop the sampling techniques and biometrical analyses necessary to determine status and trends, and to identify possible causes of amphibian declines and malformations.
The biological importance of Great Smoky Mountains National Park has been recognized
by its designation as an International Biosphere Reserve. As such, it is clearly
the leading region of significance for amphibian research. Although no other
region shares the wealth of amphibians as found in the Great Smokies (31 species
of salamanders, and 13 of frogs), the entire southern and mid-section of the
Appalachian Mountain chain is characterized by a high diversity of amphibians,
and inventories and monitoring protocols developed in the Smokies likely will
be applicable to other Appalachian National Park Service properties.
From 1998 to 2001, USGS biologists carried out a pilot inventory and monitoring research project in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. A variety of inventory, sampling, and monitoring techniques were employed and tested. These included wide-scale visual encounter surveys of amphibians at terrestrial and aquatic sites, intensive monitoring of selected plots, randomly placed small-grid plot sampling, litterbag sampling in streams, monitoring nesting females of selected species, call surveys, and monitoring specialized habitats, such as caves. Coupled with information derived from amphibian surveys on Federal lands using various other techniques (automated frog call data loggers, PVC pipes, drift fences, terrestrial and aquatic traps), an amphibian monitoring program was designed to best meet the needs of biologists and natural resource managers after taking into consideration the logistics, terrain, and life histories of the species found within Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
This report provides an overview of the Park’s amphibians, the factors affecting their distribution, a review of important areas of biodiversity, and a summary of amphibian life history in the Southern Appalachians. In addition, survey techniques are described as well as examples of how the techniques are set up, a critique of what the results tell the observer, and a discussion of the limitations of the techniques and the data. The report reviews considerations for site selection, outlines steps for biosecurity and for processing diseased or dying animals, and provides resource managers with a decision tree on how to monitor the Park’s amphibians based on different levels of available resources. It concludes with an extensive list of references for inventorying and monitoring amphibians. USGS and Great Smoky Mountains National Park biologists need to establish cooperative efforts and training to ensure that congressionally mandated amphibian surveys are performed in a statistically rigorous and biologically meaningful manner, and that amphibian populations on Federal lands are monitored to ensure their long-term survival. The research detailed in this report will aid these cooperative efforts.
How to Use this Guide
Amphibians of the Great Smoky Mountains
Habitats and Distribution
Grassy Ditches, Pools, and Rivulets
Streams and Rivers
Other Breeding Sites
Areas of Particular Amphibian
Why Monitor Amphibians?
Things to Consider During Planning
Species and Locations to Monitor
Choosing Sampling Sites
Sampling Techniques and Protocols
Easy Passive Sampling
Intensive Passive Sampling
Spreadsheets and Databases
Analysis and Software
Equipment and Training
Biosecurity and Disease
Live and Sick Amphibians
Quarantine of Amphibians
References on Inventorying and Monitoring Amphibians
For additional information write to:
C. Kenneth Dodd
Florida Integrated Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
7920 N.W. 71st Street
Gainesville, Florida 32653
World Wide Web:http://www.fcsc.usgs.gov/
Copies of this report can be purchased from:
U.S. Geological Survey
Denver, CO 80225–0046
World Wide Web: http://www.usgs.gov/
This report is available online in Portable Document Format (PDF). If you do not have the Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader, it is available for free download from Adobe Systems Incorporated.
Download the report (PDF, 21 MB)
For faster downloaded the above pdf has been split up as follows:
Cover and Contents 6MB
Pages 1-33 3.6MB
Pages 34-62 3.7MB
Pages 63-79 393KB
Plate: Amphibians 849KB
Plate: Habitats 592KB
Plate: Larvae-Tadpoles 3.2MB
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Last modified: Friday, January 11 2013, 12:39:58 PM