Jointly funded ILWS/CSU stipend, total operational funds of $22,500
Amelia Walcott (PhD candidate). Principal supervisor Dr Andrew Hall, with Dr Skye Wassens & Prof. Max Finlayson
River regulation and climate change are two major threats to wetland habitats. Many frog species rely upon wetland habitats, with occupancy linked to a wetland's particular wetting and drying patterns. In addition to wetland inundation, breeding by frogs is often concomitant with specific seasonal triggers such as air temperature changes.
Understanding the climatic and hydrological triggers for frog breeding is therefore important for long term conservation planning of natural resources to combat the current trend of widespread species loss and decline.
This project is assessing frog occupancy in aquatic habitats that depend upon the partially regulated middle and upper Lachlan River. The study region spans a mean annual temperature gradient that varies by approximately 4.5°C and includes habitats that are both influenced by river regulation as well as those with relatively un-constrained hydrologies.
The project comprises three key components:
(1) a broad scale assessment of the species present throughout the study region (via manual field surveys)
(2) identification of the climatic factors linked with breeding activity along a temperature gradient (derived from automated frog call, temperature and humidity data loggers), and
(3) extrapolation of breeding impacts in response to various climatic and hydrological scenarios (through statistical modelling guided by the findings from components 1 & 2).
Factsheets/survey summaries for participating landholders
A male Spotted Marsh Frog, Limnodynastes tasmaniensis calls to attract its' female counterparts alongside a freshly laid egg mass; both indicators of breeding activity.
This project will contribute to the natural resource knowledge on the Lachlan Catchment and will potentially assist in prioritising works and water