Ecological Insights From 70 Years of Greater Yellowstone Amphibian Studies

Dates: December 10, 2020

Meets: Thurs. from 3:00 PM to 4:30 PM

Location: Online Presentation

Registration Only: $0.00

Noted American journalist and author, Todd Wilkinson will kick off this fascinating amphibian presentation. Known foremost for his writing about the environment, his assignments take him around the world. Wilkinson's work has appeared widely in publications ranging from National Geographic to the Christian Science Monitor. With a personal and professional understanding of the role amphibians play in identifying the health of an environment, Wilkinson will provide a compelling introduction to this week's special Snowmester program.

Charles R. Peterson, professor of zoology in the Department of Biological Sciences at Idaho State University, and Andrew Ray, an aquatic ecologist with the National Park Service, will present a special 'Snowmester' event on "Ecological Insights from 70 Years of Greater Yellowstone Amphibian Studies." They will discuss how partnerships between the National Park Service, U.S. Geological Survey and Idaho State University helped launch one of the longest-running amphibian monitoring programs in the U.S. Todd Wilkerson, a Bozeman-based journalist and author, will give the opening remarks.

The high elevation Greater Yellowstone Area (GYA) is cool and relatively dry and is home to several species of amphibians such as the Western Tiger Salamander, Western (Boreal) Toad, Boreal Chorus Frog, Northern Leopard Frog, Columbia Spotted Frog and Plains Spadefoot. While amphibian species diversity in the GYA is not high, these species exhibit a fascinating range of adaptations to the varied climate, topography and water chemistry and help indicate the health of wetlands.

Peterson and Ray will discuss amphibian distributions, habitat associations, genetic connectivity of populations, as well as the major threats amphibians in the GYA and beyond such as climate change, habitat loss, disease and invasive species. Since the 1950s, herpetological studies in the GYA have ranged from broad surveys to intensive local investigations. Research has provided insight into the ecology and threats to amphibians in our region and has contributed to amphibian conservation in general.

Peterson and Ray will also discuss the expanding use of smartphones and citizen science apps, such as iNaturalist, that have enabled many people to easily contribute their amphibian observations to an online database, increasing our knowledge of amphibian distribution and activity in the GYA.

Please join us for this lecture on the GYA's amphibians-one of the region's most fascinating but poorly understood wildlife groups.

This event is presented in collaboration with theMontana Institute on Ecosystems, Northern Rockies Conservation Cooperative, Greater Yellowstone Inventory and Monitoring Network - National Park Service, Idaho State University and the Bozeman Public Library.

Fee:   $0.00


Online Presentation

This is a real-time (live) online class that meets at the specified day(s)/time(s) listed.

We will send you a reminder email with login instructions one business day before the program start date. If there are additional sessions, we will send reminders the morning of those sessions.

Charles (Chuck) Peterson

Charles R. Peterson is an award-winning professor of zoology in the Department of Biological Sciences at Idaho State University and the Affiliate Curator of Herpetology for the Idaho Museum of Natural History. During sabbatical leaves in 1994-1995 and 2002-2003, he conducted research out of Montana State University, the University of Idaho, the USGS EROS Data Center and the Yellowstone Center for Resources. His research interests include the spatial, physiological and conservation ecology of amphibians and reptiles. Much of his work has focused on reptile populations on Idaho's Snake River Plain and on amphibian populations in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. He is currently working on citizen science projects utilizing the iNaturalist mobile application to document the distribution and activity of amphibians and reptiles in Idaho and the Greater Yellowstone Area.

Andrew Ray

Andrew Ray is an aquatic ecologist with the National Park Service's Greater Yellowstone Network in Bozeman. He received his Ph.D. from Idaho State University and holds an M.S. from Northern Michigan University and B.S. from Purdue University. He conducts amphibian work in Yellowstone, Grand Teton and Crater Lake National Parks. He also works on water quality studies in Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area, Grand Teton NP and Yellowstone NP.


Email Information to Friend Print