Toads, roads, and nodes: Collaborative course-based research on the landscape ecology of amphibian populations
- David M. Marsh
- Stephanie E. Hampton
|Meeting||5th—8th April 2013||Participant List|
|Distributed Graduate Seminar||11th—13th April 2014||Participant List|
We propose to link networks of undergraduate ecology and conservation biology courses to study the factors that promote the persistence of amphibian populations at landscape and regional scales. Using existing data from the North American Amphibian Monitoring Program (NAAMP) and satellite imagery from Google Earth, students in 10 classes will relate the presence/absence of amphibian species in their own state or region to landscape features such as forest cover, road density, and urbanization. Representatives from each class will then bring their data to a meeting at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) to compile and analyze them at the national scale. In the first year of the project, classes will examine the effects of current landscape features on amphibian distributions. In the second year, classes will use older satellite imagery to discern the residual effects of past land use on amphibians and determine the lag time over which forest loss and road construction affect amphibians. In each project year, students will engage with a complete piece of scientific research from hypothesis to conclusion, and each year’s project should result in a research publication. With respect to assessment, the multi-year, multi-class structure of our project will allow for strong inference about the impact of the project on student attitudes and abilities.