Spatially isolated populations of species, especially those with limited mobility, are at an increased risk of extirpation. Though Columbia spotted frogs (Rana luteiventris) have a widespread range throughout western North America; in the Bighorn Mountains, an isolated mountain range in north-central Wyoming, Columbia spotted frogs exist as a completely isolated, glacial relict metapopulation. Currently, very little is known of this population’s spatial ecology. An understanding of Columbia spotted frog spatial ecology in the Bighorns will be critical in understanding the risk of extirpation in the event of a severe disturbance.
The goal of this research project is to understand Columbia spotted frog spatial ecology and seasonal habitat selection. Field work was conducted from June-August 2013 and 2014 and involved radio-tracking adults, measuring microhabitat characteristics at paired used and unused frog locations, and obtaining genetic samples from both adults and tadpoles. Coupling finite, actual movements from radio-transmittered adults with the collection of genetic samples (which can be used as an important spatial tool of individual relatedness) will allow us to generate a more complete picture of Columbia spotted frog spatial ecology in the Bighorns.
A thorough understanding of Columbia spotted frog spatial ecology in the Bighorns will allow us to help inform management recommendations for this metapopulation, and to help mitigate extinction risk in the event of a significant disturbance.
Anicka Kratina-Hathaway, M.S. candidate
Wyoming Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit
Dept. 3166, 1000 E. University Avenue
Laramie, WY 82070
Anicka Kratina-Hathaway graduated from the University of Montana in 2009, majoring in Ecology and Organismal biology and minoring in French. Since graduating from the U of M, Anicka has spent time working on a variety of avian field projects ranging from work on mercury contamination in Ospreys, to the ecology of the threatened San Clemente Island Sage Sparrow, to endangered forest songbird ecology and abundance in Hawaii, to the ecology of Common Ravens.
Field work on the Bighorn Columbia Spotted Frog Project was conducted over summers 2013 and 2014. Project analyses and reporting are ongoing, and will continue with an anticipated completion in December 2015.
Funding & Partners
Wyoming Game & Fish Department