University of Louisville

Poster Title

Louisville Metro Herpetofauna

Institution

University of Louisville

Abstract

Recently, increasing attention has been paid to the study of urban areas as ecosystems, and to the apparent worldwide decline of amphibians. The study of urban ecology examines the interaction between organisms and the modified, fragmented landscape mosaic created by urbanization. Since most amphibians have aquatic and terrestrial life-phases they make excellent bioindicators of ecosystem health and chemical and physical changes to ecological systems. Their restricted ability to move across a heterogeneous urban landscape makes them useful models for studying the effects of reproductive isolation on native species populations. This study has determined the identity and number of amphibian species in twenty-two green spaces in Jefferson County, KY. These sites have included, but were not limited to, parks in the Metro Parks and State Nature Preserve systems. The data have been analyzed to determine if species richness is more attributable to habitat size and distance from rural, undisturbed areas of each location, or to effects of land use surrounding the study sites. From those twenty-two sites, five species of frog (with three more species unconfirmed) and five species of salamander have been observed. It is hoped that this study can improve knowledge for the management of natural areas, as well as indicate what areas in and around Louisville, Kentucky, could maintain amphibian populations with minimal management effort. This study also provides the possibility for these sites to be revisited years from now to determine how amphibian populations might be changing in and around a growing metropolitan area.

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Louisville Metro Herpetofauna

Recently, increasing attention has been paid to the study of urban areas as ecosystems, and to the apparent worldwide decline of amphibians. The study of urban ecology examines the interaction between organisms and the modified, fragmented landscape mosaic created by urbanization. Since most amphibians have aquatic and terrestrial life-phases they make excellent bioindicators of ecosystem health and chemical and physical changes to ecological systems. Their restricted ability to move across a heterogeneous urban landscape makes them useful models for studying the effects of reproductive isolation on native species populations. This study has determined the identity and number of amphibian species in twenty-two green spaces in Jefferson County, KY. These sites have included, but were not limited to, parks in the Metro Parks and State Nature Preserve systems. The data have been analyzed to determine if species richness is more attributable to habitat size and distance from rural, undisturbed areas of each location, or to effects of land use surrounding the study sites. From those twenty-two sites, five species of frog (with three more species unconfirmed) and five species of salamander have been observed. It is hoped that this study can improve knowledge for the management of natural areas, as well as indicate what areas in and around Louisville, Kentucky, could maintain amphibian populations with minimal management effort. This study also provides the possibility for these sites to be revisited years from now to determine how amphibian populations might be changing in and around a growing metropolitan area.