Investigator:

Mary Rogalski

Advisor: Jay Ague

Description:

Amphibian populations have been in decline worldwide for at least the past several decades. Negative effects of invasive species are thought to contribute to these declines. An aggressive, invasive strain of Phragmites australis (common reed) has been spreading rapidly across coastal ecosystems in the eastern United States over the past 150 years. Invasive Phragmites has also made its way into inland wetland systems via highway corridors and riparian networks. This proposed masters research project will investigate the potential effects of Phragmites in small, temporary ponds on the developmental rate of amphibians in southern Connecticut.

Field work will be conducted in a suite of temporary ponds in the region where Phragmites australis dominates the vegetation. Finding these ponds is a challenge, as Phragmites mapping to date has occurred in coastal, tidal wetlands.

By searching a high resolution raster image of southern Connecticut for a known color signature that describes Phragmites, potential field sites will be narrowed. At the same time, through ground truthing, the extent of Phragmites invasion in temporary, inland wetlands may be quantified. Once the effects of Phragmites on amphibians are determined, it may be possible to estimate scale of impact in the region.