Invasive plants and native amphibians: A study of the possible impacts of Phragmites australis and Typha angustifolia invasions on Lithobates clamitans and L. catebieanus
This project focuses on the differences in habitat structure associated with common reed grass and narrow leaf cattail stands compared with native plant communities, and how those differences affects two closely related species of anurans (Lithobates clamitans and L. catesbeianus). My hypotheses are 1) invaded wetlands have different water chemistries associated with them than non-invaded wetlands; 2) these differences correlate with survivorship and growth of tadpoles in these wetlands; 3) plant chemical profiles relate to different tadpole behaviors; 4) the different physical structure of the wetlands lead to different behaviors in adults; 5) and finally, that wetland differences lead to differing plant and invertebrate communities in the wetlands. While measuring physical and chemical profiles of wetlands types, simultaneous measures of larval anuran (tadpole) growth and survival provide insight into correlations between the abiotic environment and larval characteristics. The studies occurred in natural wetlands representative of each vegetation type and in constructed mesocosms. Further, behavior of larval and adult anurans were observed in the presence of invasive and native plants to assess these effects. These surveys and experiments provide insight into what impacts narrow leaf cattail and common reed grass have on green frogs and bull frogs.