National Park Service

Great Lakes Network (GLKN)

Amphibian Monitoring

Spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum)
Spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum)

GLKN Amphibian Monitoring Briefs

GLKN Amphibian Inventory Reports

GLKN Amphibian Monitoring Reports

GLKN Draft GLKN Amphibian Monitoring Protocol

For more information contact: Bill Route


Monitoring amphibian populations was among the 10 highest priority Vital Signs for the Great Lakes Network because of their:

  • Sensitivity – Amphibians generally are sensitive to changes in the environment, including temperature, precipitation, humidity, hydrology, land cover, nutrients, toxics, and exotic species.
  • Role as integrators – During different life stages, amphibians live in both terrestrial and aquatic habitats.
  • Ease of study – Various amphibian life stages are typically accessible for study.
  • Conservation concern – Rapid and ubiquitous declines in amphibians worldwide make them one of the Earth's most imperiled taxa.
  • Regional relevance – Other federal and state agencies in the Great Lakes region currently monitor amphibian populations. Our combined efforts provide a broad context for evaluating data we collect in the Great Lakes Network parks.

Long-term Monitoring

Our overall goal is to design a monitoring program for populations of wetland-breeding amphibians that will provide data on trends in distributions and abundances over time. Specifically, we intend to:

  • Monitor site occupancy through time, while accounting for variable detectability
  • Correlate trends in species distributions to covariates likely to be important, such as, water chemistry (e.g., pH, water temperature), water depth, and physiography (wetland size, percent emergent vegetation, percent canopy cover, and type of surrounding habitat).

Presence of amphibian species at selected wetlands in each park during the breeding season, and relative abundance (e.g., call indices) for several target species will be measured. Although not the primary monitored variable, we will also track environmental conditions, including changes in weather, water levels and chemistry, land cover, and land use.

Network Park Units to Be Monitored

To be determined.

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Last Updated: December 30, 2016 Contact Webmaster