Amphibian Life Cycles and Climate Change

From the trees in the forest to the various organisms populating it, all species of plants and animals have periodic life cycle events. Changes in climate have impacted the timing of these life cycle events for many species. This, in turn, can affect how likely coexisting populations are to interact with each other. A study…  More 

Water Tables and Wetlands

Some wetlands won’t stay wet, according to new research that blends long-term observations and climate projections. “By end of the 21st century, all five of the wetland sites we studied are predicted to become much drier,” says USDA Forest Service research hydrologist Ge Sun. The five wetlands are long-term research sites located throughout the southeastern…  More 

Chinese Tallow Litter and Tadpoles

Centuries ago, a tree was plucked out of its native ecosystems and introduced to the U.S. Chinese tallow (Triadica sebifera) is a showy tree with waxy seeds and heart-shaped leaves. Every autumn, its leaves turn crimson or orange before falling to the ground – or the water. “Chinese tallow invades wetlands and riparian areas in…  More 

Monitoring Frog & Toad Populations?

Over the past few decades, scientists have become increasingly concerned about amphibians. “Populations of many frog and toad species have declined,” says U.S. Forest Service research ecologist Katie Greenberg. “The global decline highlights the need to monitor frogs and toads where they live.” Greenberg has been doing just that for 24 years. Since 1994, Greenberg…  More 

Frogs, Toads, and Ephemeral Wetlands

When ephemeral wetlands swell with water, frogs and toads congregate to breed and lay their eggs,which hatch into tadpoles. “That’s risky business,” says U.S. Forest Service research ecologist Katie Greenberg. “Wetlands could dry before tadpoles metamorphose into juveniles.” If ephemeral wetlands dry out before the tadpoles develop lungs and become froglets or toadlets, an entire…  More 

In the Amazon Rainforest, Small Roads Have Big Impacts

Cars, trucks, and other vehicles leave noise, pollution, and roadkill in their wake. But if those impacts are subtracted, what about the roads themselves? “We wanted to untangle the effects of a road from the effects of driving vehicles on that road,” says U.S. Forest Service scientist Daniel Saenz. The issue is especially important in…  More 

Lizards or Salamanders?

The southern Appalachians are crawling with salamanders. In western North Carolina alone, more than 45 species can be found, and they are critical members of food webs – both as predators and as prey. Salamanders and other amphibians, as well as reptiles, can be affected by forest management practices. “However, amphibians and reptiles are ecologically,…  More 

Ephemeral Wetlands and Climate Change: Implications for Frogs and Toads

Many frog and toad species live on land as adults, but their lives always begin in water. Depending on the species, dozens or hundreds of eggs, bound together into a gelatinous glob or string, are laid in a pond, puddle, or marsh. When frogs and toads spawn in waters inhabited by fish, many of the…  More 

In a Paradox, Good News for City Frogs

In a world rapidly losing its species diversity, amphibians have the highest rate of extinction among vertebrates. Although the usual culprits of habitat loss and human incursion play a major role, a fungus called Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) that causes an often fatal skin disease in amphibians has played a major role in the decline or extinction of about…  More 

Ramped Up Risk for Frogs When Chinese Tallow Interacts with Climate Change

The timing of mating and egg-laying in many amphibians is directly related to temperature. Due to climate change, spring warming comes sooner in many areas, and a new study led by U.S. Forest Service researcher Daniel Saenz suggests that the changed timing of breeding could cause native amphibians such as the southern leopard frog and…  More