Amphibian monitoring

Provincial programs monitor the health and distribution of Alberta's amphibian population.

Overview

In Alberta, the historical distribution for some amphibian species is hard to determine, especially for northern parts of the province.

Declines in some Alberta amphibian species that have been documented include:

  • Northern Leopard Frog – has vanished from many sites around the province in the late 1970s
  • Canadian Toad – has declined in the parkland regions

Monitoring amphibian populations

To determine the relative stability of provincial amphibian populations, long-term monitoring of various sites is required. Single estimates of amphibian populations are often misleading; the number of amphibians can fluctuate dramatically from year-to-year, generally in response to the weather:

  • dry years tend to reduce population size
  • wet years may result in large increases in population

Because of this, establishing a long-term monitoring program for a variety of species is important to determine the trend as opposed to just the annual variations.

Two programs have been adopted to monitor and research amphibian numbers in Alberta:

  • Alberta Volunteer Amphibian Monitoring Program – AVAMP is a community-based survey of Alberta's amphibians that was first adopted in 1992 under the guidance of the Declining Amphibian Population Task Force (DAPTF).
  • Researching Amphibian Numbers in Alberta – the RANA Project began in Alberta in 1996. The mandate of the project is to collect detailed information about amphibian populations in Alberta, and to educate the public on Alberta's amphibian species.

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