Co-occurrence patterns of two leopard frog species in Iowa

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Bierbaum, Emily
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Natural Resource Ecology and Management
The Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management is dedicated to the understanding, effective management, and sustainable use of our renewable natural resources through the land-grant missions of teaching, research, and extension.
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Competition is an important mechanism shaping community dynamics that can result in competitive exclusion or coexistence. The studies of competition provide knowledge for developing solutions in amphibian management and conservation. We analyzed data collected from the Multiple Species Inventory and Monitoring Program (MSIM). The data included a 10-year period during which anuran species, including northern (Lithobates pipiens) and plains leopard frogs (Lithobates blairi) were sampled. The number of northern and plains leopard frogs was determined by visual encounter surveys, where field technicians surveyed a property and recorded the amphibian species encountered. Northern and plains leopard frogs are two species of leopard frogs present in Iowa. Unfortunately, the range of the plains leopard frog has decreased, while the range of the northern leopard frog has increased. The objective is to model the co-occurrence of these two leopard frog species using the program MARK, to determine if there is evidence of competitive exclusion in Iowa. We suspect the northern leopard frog out-competes the plains leopard frog and controls their shared resource.

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