AMPHIBIANS IN ALASKA?
The Stikine River in Southeast Alaska is home to all six of the known native species of amphibians, making it a herpetological hotspot compared to the other regions of the state. But has been more than 20 years since the last comprehensive study of amphibians in the area.
UAF Graduate Student Joshua Ream hopes to update the record with an inventory of amphibian populations in the Stikine River watershed this summer. He’s started a crowdfunding campaign to help him reach his goal.
“I hope to raise $1,000 by May 31 to cover the costs of field work,” he said. “The work will be conducted regardless of the success of the crowdfunding. But a successful campaign will greatly enhance the scope of this and other project components.”
Ream says amphibians act as the proverbial canary in the coalmine, giving advance warning of changes in aquatic ecosystems. “Changes in mean annual temperatures, numbers of frostless days, and levels of human activity are likely to cause changes in the distribution of amphibian species,” he says. “Colonization of new amphibian species, the threat of invasive species, several of which have established populations in southeast Alaska, and the spread of amphibian diseases will also present new problems for natural resource managers.”
The work also benefits the UA Museum of the North, as Ream’s passion for herpetological research has already produced great additions to the museum’s collections, according to Aquatics Curator Andres Lopez.
“Thanks to his ongoing field research in the Stikine and his leadership role in the Alaska Herpetological Society, the museum collections are becoming increasingly valuable resources for the study and management of Alaska’s amphibians.”
More information about Josh’s crowdfunding campaign here.