ILWS - Charles Sturt University
ILWS - Charles Sturt University

Frog community responses to environmental change: a case study in the mid Lachlan (2013-2016)

ILWS Strategic Research Area

Sustainable Water

Funding

Jointly funded ILWS/CSU stipend, total operational funds of $22,500

Investigators/ Researchers

Amelia Walcott (PhD candidate).  Principal supervisor  Dr Andrew Hall, with Dr Skye Wassens & Prof. Max Finlayson

Description

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).

Outputs

Factsheets/survey summaries for participating landholders

1. Summer Frog Survey Summary 2015 PDF

2.  Spring Frog Survey Summary 2014 PDF

3.  Winter Frog Survey Summary 2014 PDF

Spotted Marsh Frog

A male Spotted Marsh Frog, Limnodynastes tasmaniensis calls to attract its' female counterparts alongside a freshly laid egg mass; both indicators of breeding activity.

Outcomes

This project will contribute to the natural resource knowledge on the Lachlan Catchment and will potentially assist in prioritising works and water

CONTACT
Amelia Walcott
CSU Albury
email

January 2015