National Wildlife Health Center

...advancing wildlife and ecosystem health

Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative

Photo by Megan Gahl

About 270 species of frogs and salamanders comprise the amphibian fauna of the continental U.S. Significant amphibian declines have occurred in protected areas not subjected to obvious changes in habitat, such as national parks, wildlife refuges, and wilderness areas. Reports of malformed frogs, toads, and salamanders are also increasing. Habitat destruction and alteration have been shown to cause amphibian declines, but little is known about the effects of deforestation and other habitat changes (highway construction, urban development, etc.). Other potential stressors include: contaminants, introduced species, climate change, ultraviolet radiation, disease, atmospheric deposition, or a variety of these factors acting in combination. The tasks listed below are part of a collaborative, multi-agency effort to understand the effects of environmental change upon the Nation's amphibians.

This project is managed by the Program Coordinator of the Wildlife: Terrestrial and Endangered Resources Program.

Project Tasks:

  • Health and disease surveys of declining amphibian populations at regional ARMI monitoring sites.
  • A cohort field study to determine the risk factors associated with the natural transmission cycle of Ribeiroia ondatrae within snail and tadpole populations over space and time.
  • Development of metabolic and phylogenic databases to survey and identify watermolds in Amphibian egg masses as a factor in amphibian population declines.
  • Emerging chytrid fungus infections in the Pacific Northwest.
  • Chytrid fungus and amphibian extirpations in California and Oregon: watershed analysis of fungus and frogs.

For more information on any of the tasks listed above, please contact:

  • David Green at 608-270-2482,
  • Gail Moede-Rogall at 608-270-2438,

  1. Establish a network designed to monitor the status and changes in the distributions and abundance of amphibian species and communities in the United States.
  2. Identify and monitor environmental conditions known to affect amphibians and document their differences across the Nation.
  3. Conduct research that identifies causes of amphibian population change and malformations.
  4. Provide information to managers, policy makers and the general public in support of amphibian conservation.
USGS Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative (ARMI) Website

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