In the face of the natural and human disturbances of today and due to their sensitivity, organisms such as frogs and toads may serve as important indicators of the state of our ecosystems. To that end, my research in the Green Lab centres on anuran population and community level responses to disturbances in the form of habitat alteration.
In Long Point, Ontario, home to the federally-endangered Fowler’s toad (Anaxyrus fowleri), amphibians have experienced a chance overlap of major disturbance events: the planned removal of an invasive reed (Phragmites australis) and unexpected washout of dune habitats, resulting in significant landscape alteration. It is expected that these habitat modifications will affect various frog and toad species in different ways.
I am particularly interested in understanding the drivers of the site occupancy of the resident amphibian species and how this occupancy changes over time as the landscape recovers. Using minnow traps, acoustic and visual surveys, whilst also monitoring changes in water chemistry, I aim to elucidate the complexity of the amphibian responses to multiple and interacting disturbance types. In addition, through this research, I hope to provide insights regarding the effects of habitat alteration on wetland anurans.