Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Iowa
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Iowa Project

Farmed and CREP Wetland Amphibian Populations in the Des Moines Lobe of Central Iowa

May 2016 - December 2016


Participating Agencies

  • USGS Fort Collins Science Center

Amphibian populations have been experiencing declines in both the United States as well as globally. Recent research indicates that even species previously considered to have stable populations may be experiencing background rates of decline that have gone unnoticed or underestimated. Altough several factors have been identified as contributing to amphibian population losses, habitat loss and risks associated with landuse change, such as environmental contamination, have been acknowleged one of the top threats to amphibians. In the state of Iowa, much of the historic land cover has been converted from a mosiac of wetlands and prairies to agricultural production. In order to preserve amphibian species in these areas it is vital to understand the relationship between amphibian presence, movement, and and habitat characteristics such as landscape use. Previous work has shown that wetlands in agricultural landscapes can support amphibian populations, but understanding how individuals use these habitats at several spatial scales is important to promote the health and diversity of amphibian species. Objectives are to: Determine amphibian occupancy rates in Iowa Prairie Pothole Region wetlands o Correlate wetland habitat characteristics with amphibian species presence or absence o Document post-breeding movement patterns of northern leopard frogs on Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program wetlands o Assess the effect of surrounding land use practices as they contribute to chemical exposure and concentrations in northern leopard frogs.