Date of Graduation
Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design
Wildlife and Fisheries Resources
James T Anderson
Petra Bohall Wood
Functional assessment of created wetlands is an important factor in monitoring the success of wetland mitigation projects. Determining the ability of a created wetland to replace lost wildlife habitat and to support productive wildlife populations should be a priority in the assessment of created wetland success. We used a mesocosm design featuring water collected from 3 created wetlands and 3 natural wetlands in West Virginia to evaluate how the water quality from the 2 wetland types were able to support metamorphosis in larval spring peepers (Pseudacris crucifer) and wood frogs ( Rana sylvatica). Spring peepers displayed similar metamorphosis rates in created and natural wetlands in both years of the study. Wood frogs displayed similar metamorphosis rates in 2015, but in 2014 wood frogs reached metamorphosis in less time and at a larger body size in the natural wetlands than in the created wetlands. These results suggest that created wetlands may provide partial mitigation in terms of water quality for amphibian development. We recommend that future monitoring of created wetlands include measures of juvenile amphibian recruitment.;Monitoring larval amphibians through metamorphosis and into adulthood would benefit from an individual marking technique. In an effort to identify a reliable tagging method, we evaluated the retention rate of visible implant alphanumeric (VIAlpha) tags in larval green frogs (Rana clamitans ) in 3 body locations (dorsal, ventral, lateral) and with 2 incision treatments (surgical glue, no glue). We found that 100% of ventrally tagged tadpoles lost their tags during our study and that surgical glue did not improve retention in any of the body locations. The retention rate of dorsally tagged tadpoles was 64% and the retention rate of laterally tagged tadpoles was 68%. These retention rates are not sufficient for reliable use, but they are an improvement upon the 4% retention rate seen in a previous study. Further research and practice with VIAlpha tags may improve tag retention and readability. Future studies could then individually mark larval amphibians in a field study comparing created and natural wetlands and more accurately monitor juvenile recruitment, along with other habitat variables, to determine the ability of created wetlands to function as amphibian habitat.
McPherson, Lauren A., "Amphibian Metamorphosis in Created and Natural Wetlands" (2015). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 6205.