National Park Service in southern California

As a wildlife biology intern for NPS I had the opportunity to research the effects of urban development on reptile and amphibian populations in the Santa Monica Mountains. 

 
 
 Slender salamander were commonly caught in the buckets after rainfall.

Slender salamander were commonly caught in the buckets after rainfall.

Pitfall trapping

Pitfall trapping was used in order to inventory the different species of amphibian and reptiles throughout the park. Southern California is highly fragmented with large highways and residential areas separating habitats with relatively no corridors. The on going study shows that many species are sensitive to habitat fragmentation and are unable to persist. Only a few generalist species are found in the fragmented, poor habitat. It is important to create wildlife corridors and suitable habitat for species both large and small to survive in highly human populated areas. 


California red-legged frog

The endangered California red-legged frog was once found in fountains on the UCLA campus. Now it has be reduced to only a couple populations in the LA area. With the NPS, I assisted in the reintroduction project to help increase the population. We carefully transported eggs from one population to two other streams in the area that were categorized as less impacted by humans. Enclosures were built to house the eggs during development until larger Gosner stages. At that point the tadpoles were released into the small pools in the stream and monitored biweekly by measuring and staging. 

 Checking the tadpole stages of the California red-legged frog.

Checking the tadpole stages of the California red-legged frog.


 The frog crew in action with a bunch of tadpoles to release to other pools in the stream. Jordyn (an intern for the project) and I traveled to Central America together after this project. My bosses Katy and Mark were so incredible!

The frog crew in action with a bunch of tadpoles to release to other pools in the stream. Jordyn (an intern for the project) and I traveled to Central America together after this project. My bosses Katy and Mark were so incredible!

NPs frog crew AND UPDATE

The frog crew in action with a bunch of tadpoles to release to other pools in the stream. Jordyn (an intern for the project) and I traveled to Central America together after this project. My bosses Katy and Mark were so incredible!

As of now, the California red-legged frogs that we reintroduced are now adult size and are seen frequently in the stream!