Rocky Mountain Amphibian Project

A WYOMING BIODIVERSITY CITIZEN SCIENCE INITIATIVE PROJECT


Monitoring Information

Help resource managers monitor long-term population trends of amphibians in the Rocky Mountains.

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BACKGROUND

Currently, information on most amphibians in the region comes from opportunistic observations or small, short-term studies.  Although important, these data cannot be used to track long-term population trends.  Because of increasing concern over documented amphibian declines around the world, monitoring long-term population trends for amphibians in the Rocky Mountain west is critical to helping resource managers identify and address problems.

The Rocky Mountain Amphibian Project is a collaborative effort involving the University of Wyoming, regional state and federal agencies, non-profit organizations, and citizen scientists.  By collecting amphibian monitoring data in the same scientifically rigorous manner, information from all groups can be used to assess trends in amphibian populations.

Our amphibian monitoring program is based on a framework developed by the USGS Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative (ARMI).  This framework, developed by a team of leading scientists, is currently being implemented successfully in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (learn more here).  For detailed information about our study design, click here.

 

HOW IT WORKS

The Rocky Mountain Amphibian Project has adapted the ARMI monitoring framework so that surveys typically can be conducted easily by professional or citizen scientists in one day.

Surveys are typically conducted with 2 people at the same time, each recording their own data (dual-observer method). However, groups of 3 or more people can choose to work together to collect data (team method) during each visit to a catchment.

Surveyors sign up to visit a specific area (catchment) containing several water bodies (sites) to be surveyed.  Sites within any given catchment may include ponds, wet meadows, segments of creeks, springs, etc.).

Surveyors are provided with datasheets and other necessary equipment and follow standardized survey protocols to search for amphibians at each site in their catchment. 

Data recorded includes:

The number of each species seen

What life stages (e.g., eggs, tadpoles, adults) of each species are seen

Air and water temperature

Water pH

Site photos

Weather conditions

Basic site characteristics

Surveyors are also asked to carefully catch several individuals of each species seen and swab them for amphibian chytrid fungus.  Instructional videos are available here.

 

WHERE WE WORK

We currently have 18 survey catchments on the Medicine Bow National Forest in southern Wyoming and 36 on the Bridger-Teton National Forest in western Wyoming.

Click here to learn more about each catchment and check their availability!



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By engaging the public in citizen science projects like the  Rocky Mountain Amphibian Project, the Biodiversity Institute hopes to collect vital data on amphibians in the Rocky Mountain region, while simultaneously teaching people about amphibians, their unique life histories, and their need for our help.  

Please consider supporting this project, and other citizen science projects across the Rocky Mountain Region with a donation to the Biodiversity Institute! 

Learn More about Supporting Citizen Science and Donate Now