Integrating a National Park Service Vital Sign with the USGS Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative across Networks

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A boreal toad in the grass
A boreal toad in the grass

Amphibians are declining throughout the world. The USGS Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative (ARMI) has monitored populations in Rocky Mountain and Glacier National Parks since 2000. The National Park Service Greater Yellowstone Inventory and Monitoring Network selected amphibians as a “vital sign” (a subset of physical, chemical, and biological elements and processes of park ecosystems that are selected to represent the overall health or condition of park resources, known or hypothesized effects of stressors, or elements that have important human values) in 2004. This provides a unique opportunity for analysis of a vital sign across networks.

The goal of this task is to integrate amphibian monitoring from the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem with data collected by ARMI in the neighboring Rocky Mountain Network to provide a coherent view of the status and trends of amphibians on the Continental Divide. Additional objectives include linking analyses of amphibians with other vital signs, such as climate, wetland integrity, and presence of beaver; recommending methods for integrated data collection of multiple vital signs; and developing methods for integrating amphibian monitoring data collected under different study designs. FORT scientists will perform analyses using occupancy models within an information-theoretic framework to identify the relative importance of climate and habitat characteristics on amphibian occupancy associated with each park.