Carleton Arboretum Frog and Toad Survey

May 24, 2018 at 5:34 pm
By Christian Heuchert '20

American Toad Drawing
Have you gone on a walk in the Arb recently? If you have, I bet you heard a few of the frog species that live in our Arb! One of the noisiest species you can hear in most wetlands is the Chorus Frog. It sounds like a finger running across the teeth of a comb.

To keep track of what is heard, the Arb Naturalists run a Frog and Toad Survey three times a year. Since 2009 we have been collecting data on the number of species we find, their population density, and their habitats. During the survey we walk the length of the Arb and listen for 5 minutes at ten set stops. We record frogs/toads heard and their call density, note any distracting sounds, take the air and water temperature, and record the visibility of the moon.

It is important to run the survey because of the unique habitats in the Arb. As a restored native landscape of prairie and forest in an area where farmland is the dominant ecosystem, the watershed here is in better health than surrounding habitats. The floodplain forests and Kettle Hole Marsh in the Lower Arb, coupled with Lyman Lakes and Spring Creek in the Upper Arb, provide a range of habitats suitable for amphibians. Thus, the Arb has become a refuge for various amphibian species, and keeping track of them is a good way to judge the health of the Arb. Also, we can compare our data to statewide data information from the Department of Natural Resources, making sure we have comparable amphibian populations.

In you want to find out more, check out our Carleton Cowling Arboretum website. We have an in-depth explanation of the survey and a beautiful guide called “Amphibians of the Arboretum.”

Christian Heuchert '20, for the Cole Student Naturalists

Drawing credit: Anna Persmark ‘15
(American Toad, heard all around Lyman Lakes. “Amphibians of the Arboretum” guide) 

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