Eastern Kentucky University

Poster Title

Conservation Genetics of Crawfish Frogs at Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge

Institution

Eastern Kentucky University

Abstract

Crawfish frogs (Lithobates areolatus) have been experiencing significant population declines across their range over the last several decades due to widespread habitat loss and fragmentation. The Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge (BONWR) in southeastern Indiana, the easternmost locality of crawfish frog populations, houses recently discovered, isolated populations of crawfish frogs. We studied these populations to (1) determine the diversity and distribution of genetic variability among populations at BONWR and compare this to other genetic studies of crawfish frogs and (2) examine how landscape features and distance affect the distribution of genetic variability. We used 11 microsatellite loci to genotype frogs collected from eight sites on BONWR from the 2012 and 2013 breeding seasons. We then compared these genetic data to the landscape using GIS. Data from this study will provide a better understanding of patterns of gene flow among crawfish frog populations on the BONWR, yielding data necessary to inform management initiatives for this endangered species.

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Conservation Genetics of Crawfish Frogs at Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge

Crawfish frogs (Lithobates areolatus) have been experiencing significant population declines across their range over the last several decades due to widespread habitat loss and fragmentation. The Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge (BONWR) in southeastern Indiana, the easternmost locality of crawfish frog populations, houses recently discovered, isolated populations of crawfish frogs. We studied these populations to (1) determine the diversity and distribution of genetic variability among populations at BONWR and compare this to other genetic studies of crawfish frogs and (2) examine how landscape features and distance affect the distribution of genetic variability. We used 11 microsatellite loci to genotype frogs collected from eight sites on BONWR from the 2012 and 2013 breeding seasons. We then compared these genetic data to the landscape using GIS. Data from this study will provide a better understanding of patterns of gene flow among crawfish frog populations on the BONWR, yielding data necessary to inform management initiatives for this endangered species.