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Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative

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Vernal pool
Larissa Bailey (Colorado State), USGS, FWS, and SCC volunteers building vernal pools at Patuxent NWR, to adaptively manage for climate change. Photo by: A. Green.

Only a few years ago, amphibians were rarely considered in the development and implementation of management plans. But now, it’s not uncommon to see amphibian populations as the primary targets of management activities.

ARMI scientists conduct research on the impacts of various traditional management actions on amphibians, and have worked with partners to develop and test novel management options specifically to benefit amphibians.

Important decisions are made every day on management and policy that affect multiple wildlife species. ARMI works with its partners in Federal and State agencies to develop processes for structuring their natural resource decisions to achieve their conservation objectives related to amphibians.

ARMI Products on Management

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This is an ARMI Product. Non-native and native organisms moving into high elevation and high latitude ecosystems in an era of climate change: new challenges for ecology and conservation
Authors: Albihn A, Alexander J, Burgess T, Daehler C, Englund G, Essl F, Evengård B, Greenwood G, Haider S, Lenoir J, McDougall K, Muths E, Nuñez M, Olofsson J, Pellissier L, Rabitsch W, Rew L, Robertson M, Sanders N, Kueffer C, Milbau A, Pauchard A | Date: 2016 | Outlet: Biological Invasions | Format: .PDF
Cold environments at high elevation and high latitude are often viewed as resistant to biological invasions. However, climate warming, land use change and associated increased connectivity all increase the risk of biological invasions in these environments. Here we present a summary of the key discussions of the workshop ‘Biosecurity in Mountains and Northern Ecosystems: Current Status and Future Challenges’ (Flen, Sweden, 1-3 June 2015). The aims of the workshop were to (i) increase awareness about the growing importance of species expansion – both non-native and native – at high elevation and high latitude with climate change, (ii) review existing knowledge about invasion risks in these areas, and (iii) encourage more research on how species will move and interact in cold environments, and the consequences for animal and human health and wellbeing. The diversity of potential and actual invaders reported at the workshop and the likely interactions between them create major challenges for managers of cold environments. However, since these cold environments have experienced fewer invasions when compared with many warmer, more populated environments, prevention has a real chance of success, especially if it is coupled with prioritisation schemes for targeting invaders likely to have greatest impact. Communication and co-operation between cold environment regions will facilitate rapid response and maximise use of limited research and management resources.

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This is an ARMI Product. Restored agricultural wetlands in central Iowa: habitat quality and amphibian response
Authors: Reeves RA, Pierce CL, Smalling KL, Klaver RW, Vandever MW, Battaglin WA, Muths E | Date: 2016-02 | Outlet: Wetlands | Format: .PDF
Amphibians are declining throughout the United States and worldwide due, partly, to habitat loss. The Iowa Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) strategically restores wetlands to denitrify tile drainage effluent and restore ecosystem services. Understanding how eutrophication , hydroperiod, predation, and disease affect amphibians in restored wetlands is central to maintaining healthy amphibian populations in the region. We examined the quality of amphibian habitat in restored CREP wetlands relative to reference wetlands by comparing species richness, developmental stress, and adult leopard frog (Lithobates pipiens) survival probabilities to a suite of environmental metrics. Although measured habitat variables differed between restored and reference wetlands, differences appeared to have sub-lethal rather than lethal effects on resident populations . There were few differences in amphibian species richness and no difference in estimated survival probabilities between wetland types. Restored wetlands had more nitrate and alkaline pH, longer hydroperiods, and were deeper, whereas reference wetlands had more amphibian chytrid fungus zoospores and resident amphibians exhibited increased developmental stress. Restored and reference wetlands are both important components of the landscape in central Iowa and maintaining a complex of fish-free wetlands with a variety of hydroperiods will likely contribute to the persistence of amphibians in this landscape.

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This is an ARMI Product. An alternative framework for responding to the amphibian crisis
Authors: Muths E, Fisher RN | Outlet: Oryx | Format: .PDF
We suggest that a radically different approach, something akin to human emergency response management (i.e., the Incident Command System) is one alternative to addressing the lack of cohesion and inertia in responding to amphibian issues. While we acknowledge existing efforts and the prodigious amount of useful research, we suggest that a change is warranted and that the identification of a new amphibian chytrid provides the impetus for such a change.

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