学生 成功

最新菠菜论坛 students shine a light on rarely seen local toad

夏季学生在博士工作. 朱莉Lee-Yaw’s biology lab at the 最新菠菜论坛 are very keen about amphibians — so keen they’re spending the summer conducting research across Alberta on these exceptional indicators of ecosystem health. What’s more, they even spent their free time looking out for the elusive Plains Spadefoot Toad. Because the Plains Spadefoot Toad spends most its time underground, 许多当地居民可能从未见过, even though their range includes southern Alberta. They’ve been spotted as far north as Wainwright and as far west as Pincher Creek. While they may pop up from time to time to find food, they only emerge in large numbers to breed and only in certain weather conditions.

从左到右是达斯汀·斯奈德, Kaegan芬恩, 迪伦臂章, 丹尼尔猎人, Jayna伯格曼, 朱莉Lee-Yaw和阿里安娜库恩.

“过去三年每下一场雨, I would be out driving around the outskirts of town trying to find these toads,”Lee-Yaw说. “The thing that’s very interesting about them is that they’re very secretive and cryptic. 他们将在地下度过大量的时间, and they only come out when the conditions are just right and that means lots of rain and temperatures of 10 degrees or higher.”

达斯汀·斯奈德, a fourth-year NSERC-funded student in Lee-Yaw’s lab, had seen a Plains Spadefoot in Cottonwood Park and was determined to find the breeding site of the population in the area. 和实验室里的其他人一起, he combed the park paths at night in the middle of June and one night heard them calling in the distance. He eventually located the source of the calls in West Lethbridge and alerted his lab mates, who went out to observe the toads for themselves.

“It was a real win for us to see this toad that’s at the northern edge of its range and that’s very rarely seen until it comes out in these really unique conditions,博士说. 阿里安娜库恩, a post-doctoral fellow in Lee-Yaw’s lab.

在阿尔伯塔省, the Plains Spadefoot Toad is listed as a species at risk of declining and is a high priority candidate for a status with the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC).

“COSEWIC has stated that 77 per cent of spadefoot toad habitat has been lost through the 20th century, 主要是因为农业,斯奈德说:“. “The breeding site we located is very close to current residential areas and in a prime location for residential expansion. It could be bulldozed over within the next few years. With dwindling habitat for breeding, it’s important we protect the remaining sites.”

达斯汀·斯奈德拿着一只平原铲脚蟾蜍.

李耀也有同样的担忧. Because the toads spend most of their time underground, the size of the population is hard to gauge. When environmental impact assessments are completed for development projects, 敏感物种,比如大平原铲子足, which won’t be visible if the conditions haven’t been right, 将会被完全错过.

Other amphibians being studied by Lee-Yaw’s group include the long-toed salamander and the Western Toad.

杰娜·伯格曼(22届理学学士)和谢伊·马克斯, a biology student from the University of Victoria, 正在进行关于西部蟾蜍的研究. Alberta is home to calling populations of the toads, 雄性通过鸣叫来吸引雌性, while Western Toads in other jurisdictions do not produce calls. They hope to learn if Alberta’s population is genetically unique.

作为李姚实验室的现场技术员, 斯奈德和凯根·芬恩合作, 一个研究生, looking for new long-toed salamanders in under surveyed parts of the province. Other students in the lab include Chinook Summer 研究 student 布丽安娜警员, who recently completed her second year in the biology department’s 研究 Internship Concentration (RIC) and who is studying colour pattern variation in these salamanders across seven states and provinces.

守护进程Wisniewski, who’s just completed his first year in the RIC program, has also been working in the lab and with collaborators at Yale University, preparing wood frog samples for genetic analyses and helping keep the lab’s large amphibian tissue collection organized. He recently tried his hand at night-time amphibian surveys and spotted the lab’s first tiger salamander of the season.

“The biodiversity of Lethbridge and Alberta more generally is impressive,”Lee-Yaw说. “Taking a break from our regular project work just to appreciate this diversity is important to the lab and we encourage others to check out what’s right here in their backyard.”