Results So Far
Our amphibian monitoring is still a relatively new project, so the results described below should be considered as preliminary.
The vernal pools we have been monitoring the longest are at Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary where both wood frogs and spotted salamanders occur. We began monitoring in 2004. It is striking how much annual variation there was (see the difference in spotted salamander egg masses between 2006 and 2007 in the graph below). Long term monitoring will hopefully allow us to more understand whether this variation is an artifact of sampling or a real difference and, if the latter, what the cause is.
Coverboard Surveys for Forest Amphibians
Red-backed salamanders are the most commonly encountered vertebrate in our coverboard surveys, comprising over 98 percent of our observations. We have also recorded an occasional four-toed salamander, spotted salamander, spring peepers, ribbon snakes, red-backed voles, and many ants, sowbugs, slugs, spiders, and other invertebrates.
The figure indicates the monthly averages of red-backed salamanders from Wachusett Meadow Wildlife Sanctuary from 1999 through 2004. Note that the highest numbers are in the spring and fall.
The graph shows the number of salamanders recorded at one array of 40 boards at Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary. Since 2010 was a particularly dry summer (weeks 24 through 35), there were often no salamanders observed during that time period.
Frog Calling Surveys
Frog calling surveys began on 5 wildlife sanctuaries in 2010. Thus far, all our records are from April.
- Wood frogs have been recorded at Mass Audubon’s headquarters in Lincoln, Massachusetts.
- Spring peepers have been recorded at Daniel Webster, North River, North Hill Marsh, and Endicott wildlife sanctuaries.
- Our goal is to increase the participation by wildlife sanctuaries over the next few years.