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Regional and scale-specific effects of land use on amphibian diversity [poster]
Biology Presentations
  • James R. Vonesh, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • David Marsh, Washington and Lee University
  • J. J. Apodaca, Warren Wilson College
  • Karen H. Beard, Utah State University
  • Jane M. Bell, Warren Wilson College
  • Christine Bozarth, Northern Virginia Community College
  • Derrick Carper, Anoka-Ramsey Community College - Coon Rapids Campus
  • Julie Charbonnier, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Bradley J. Cosentino, Hobart William Smith Colleges
  • Andreia Dantas, Northern Virginia Community College
  • Elizabeth A. Forys, Eckerd College
  • Miranda Foster, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Jaquelyn General, Anoka-Ramsey Community College - Coon Rapids Campus
  • Kristen S. Genet, Anoka-Ramsey Community College - Coon Rapids Campus
  • Macie Hanneken, Eckerd College
  • Kyle Hess, University of Rhode Island
  • Shane Hill, Utah State University
  • Faisal Iqbal, Northern Virginia Community College
  • Kara Jones, George Mason University
  • Nancy E. Karraker, University of Rhode Island
  • Eran Kilpatrick, University of South Carolina - Salkehatchie
  • Tom A. Langen, Clarkson University
  • James Langford, University of South Carolina - Salkehatchie
  • Katherine Lauer, Clarkson University
  • Alison J. McCarthy, Hobart William Smith Colleges
  • Joseph Neale, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Saumya Patel, Washington and Lee University
  • Austin Patton, Warren Wilson College
  • Cherie Southwick, Warren Wilson College
  • Nathaniel Stearrett, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Nick Steijn, Hobart William Smith Colleges
  • Mohammad Tasleem, Northern Virginia Community College
  • Joseph Taylor, Washington and Lee University
Document Type
Original Presentation Date

Poster presented at 99th Annual Ecological Society of America (ESA) Meeting, 2014.

This was a collaborative undergraduate research project involving 12 universities.

Date of Submission
August 2014
Background/Question/Methods Habitat loss and degradation influence amphibian distributions and are important drivers of population declines. Our previous research demonstrated that road disturbance, development and wetland area consistently influence amphibian richness across regions of the U.S. Here, we examined the relative importance of these factors in different regions and at multiple spatial scales. Understanding the scales at which habitat disturbance may be affecting amphibian distributions is important for conservation planning. Specifically, we asked: 1) Over what spatial scales do distinct landscape features affect amphibian richness? and 2) Do road types (non-rural and rural) have similar effects on amphibian richness? This is the second year of a collaborative, nationwide project involving 11 U.S. colleges integrated within undergraduate biology curricula. We summarized North American Amphibian Monitoring Program data in 13 Eastern and Central U.S states and used geographic information systems to extract landscape data for 471 survey locations. We developed models to quantify the influence of landscape variables on amphibian species richness and site occupancy across five concentric buffers ranging from 300m to 10,000m. Results/Conclusions Across spatial scales, development, road density and agriculture were the best predictors of amphibian richness and site occupancy by individual species. Across regions, we found that scale did not exert a large influence on how landscape features influenced amphibian richness as effects were largely comparable across buffers. However, development and percent impervious surface had stronger influence on richness at smaller spatial scales. Richness was lower at survey locations with higher densities of non-rural and rural roads, and non-rural road density had a larger negative effect at smaller scales. Within regions, landscape features driving patterns of species richness varied. The scales at which these factors were associated with richness were highly variable within regions, suggesting the scale effects may be region specific. Our project demonstrates that networks of undergraduate students can collaborate to compile and analyze large ecological data sets, while engaging students in authentic and inquiry-based learning in landscape-scale ecology.
Is Part Of
VCU Biology Presentations
Citation Information
James R. Vonesh, David Marsh, J. J. Apodaca, Karen H. Beard, et al.. "Regional and scale-specific effects of land use on amphibian diversity [poster]" (2014)
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