Long term population biology of amphibians

MarbledSal3 SalSummary2

Two major benefits of working on the SRS are the potential to collect long-term data and the abundance of isolated wetlands on site. Most of our isolated wetlands are Carolina Bays (similar to vernal pools of the Northeast and west and prairie potholes in the midwest). Putting those two things together leads to long term studies of pond-breeding amphibians. For example, one site, Rainbow Bay, has been studied extensively since 1978. The entire bay is encircled with a drift fence with pitfall traps on both sides of the fence. The fence has been “run” every day for over 35 years!!! All of my research atRainbow Bayis in collaboration withDavid Scott. David has been the primary person running the bay and maintaining the data for over 20 years. When the Rainbow Bay project started mole salamanders (Ambystoma talpoideum) were the dominant species and marbled salamanders (A. opacum) were very rare. Now, the roles have reversed.I am very interested in this reversal from a populations genetics perspective---can we see evidence of a bottleneck in mole salamanders and of rapid expansion in marbled salamanders? How has Ne changed overtime? We have accurate estimates of the census size for every year since 1978 and we have tissue samples from cohorts over the last 30 years. By combining the long-term data with genetic analyses we’ll be able to examine the relationship between census size and effective population size in a declining population and expanding population. Schyler Nunziata (University of Kentucky, Weisrock lab) is currently examining how genetic diversity has changed over time in both species. We're also comparing the genetic diversity and Ne estimates to those from another bay, Ginger's Bay, where populations of both species have been stable over the same time period.


The content and opinions expressed on this web page do not necessarily reflect the views of nor are they endorsed by the University of Georgia or the University System of Georgia. Jason O'Bryhim & Stacey Lance 2013