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Farm ponds as critical habitats for native amphibians

Resources for Monitoring Pond-breeding Amphibians in the Northcentral USA
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Resources for Monitoring Pond-breeding Amphibians in the Northcentral USA


Melinda G. Knutson and James E. Lyon
U.S. Geological Survey
Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center
2630 Fanta Reed Road
La Crosse, Wisconsin 54603


Jeffrey R. Parmelee
Simpson College
Department of Biology
701 North C Street
Indianola, Iowa 50125

Public and private land managers are interested in monitoring amphibian populations to evaluate the risk of population declines. In this report, we describe monitoring methods and resources useful for biologists undertaking monitoring of amphibians breeding in pond environments in the northcentral USA. We include states in the U.S. Geological Survey Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative, Upper Mississippi Region (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin). The monitoring resources are derived from the literature and our experiences with a study of amphibians breeding in small farm ponds in southeastern Minnesota (Driftless Area Ecoregion) conducted from 2000 to 2001. We provide an overview of methods and list resources for conducting anuran calling surveys, egg mass surveys, larval surveys, and amphibian deformity assessments, and we list precautions to prevent the spread of diseases. We also present one method of collecting habitat information associated with a breeding site. The appendixes list equipment and resources useful for conducting amphibian surveys. Examples of data sheets are provided, along with a list of amphibians present in the northcentral USA.

Keywords: amphibian, midwestern USA, monitoring, northcentral USA, pond, resources

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