Environmental Studies Program


Date of this Version

Spring 5-2013


Amphibians serve as an indication of proper ecosystem health. Due to their permeable skin and cutaneous respiration, amphibians are prone to be adversely affected by intensified water quality parameters (Welsh and Olliver 1998) . Salinity (the measure of dissolved salts) can have a serious effect on amphibian reproduction and recruitment (Smith et al 2006). A research project was enacted during the 2012 summer field season in Wilderness Park located in Lancaster County, Nebraska to determine if a relationship exists between amphibian species richness and relative abundance with measures of salinity (ppm). Breeding sites were determined and placed in three relative salinity regimes (Low, Moderate and High). Frog call surveys in addition to tadpole dip netting surveys were administered at each site once each month (April-July). Shannon Diversity Indices (H’) were calculated for each regime to measure species richness levels (Figure 1). Relative abundances were measured for each regime by dividing the total number of individuals encountered by the total measured area (m2) of the sites within each regime (Formula 4). No significant relationship was found across the salinity regimes for either species richness or relative abundance. Tadpoles were not documented in the Moderate and High salinity regimes. The absence of tadpoles was most likely a result of lack of ideal microhabitat for reproducing frogs as well as insufficient cover from potential predation