Katherine Fikac, West Texas A&M University

Anuran Breeding Phenology at Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Abstract: Amphibian populations have been experiencing declines both in the United States as well as globally (Stuart et al. 2004). Those amphibian populations residing within the Southwestern United States are among the most unique, diverse, and threatened (Lanoo 2005). Because of their high dependency on water for reproduction, amphibian populations are constrained by the limited water resources available in the Southwest (Lanoo 2005). Thus, public lands (BLM, USFW, USDA, etc.) containing water resources serve as important habitats for amphibians in an otherwise dry landscape.

The most critical information needed by wildlife managers is to understand what species are present on a given property, and when and where they reproduce (Fryxell et al. 2014). For amphibians, distribution, abundance, and reproductive patterns are influenced by factors that are intrinsic to the local wetland (e.g. salinity and pH) as well as extrinsic factors (e.g. air temperature and precipitation) (Brodman et al. 2003, Saenz et al. 2006). These factors are critically important for amphibians in arid landscapes, such as the Southwest, due to the limited availability of surface water (Lanoo 2005).

One example of these arid land habitats is Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Chaves County, New Mexico. The refuge is located in a warm, semi-arid climate that receives seasonal monsoonal rains (Roswell, NM Climate 2017). The wetlands found on the refuge differ greatly in their abiotic chemistry (e.g. pH, temperature, and salinity) (Partey et al. 2011). Both of these extrinsic (i.e. weather) and intrinsic (i.e. water chemistry) factors are known to influence anuran distribution and reproduction in other locations (Brodman et al. 2003, Saenz et al. 2006). Our objective was to evaluate the role of intrinsic and extrinsic factors in determining anuran breeding activity at Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge.


Brodman, R., J. Ogger, T. Bogard, A. J. Long, R. A. Pulver, K. Mancuso, and D. Falk. 2003. Multivariate analyses of the influences of water chemistry and habitat parameters on the abundances of pond-breeding amphibians. Journal of Freshwater Ecology 18:425-436.

“Roswell, NM Climate” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Web. 12 Nov. 2017, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roswell,_New_Mexico#climate.

Fryxell, J. M., a. R. Sinclair, and G. Caughley. 2014. Wildlife ecology, conservation, and management. John Wiley & Sons.

Lanoo, M. J. 2005. Amphibian declines: the conservation status of United States species. Univ of California Press.

Partey, F. K., L. Land, B. Frey, E. Premo, and L. Crossey. 2011. Final Report on Geochemistry of Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Roswell, New Mexico. Pages 1-17. New Mexico Tech.

Saenz, D., Llee A. Fizgerald, K. A. Baum, and R. N. Conner. 2006. Abiotic Correlates of Anuran calling Phenology: The Importance of Rain, Temperature, and Season. Herpetological Monographs 20:64-82.

Presentation Author(s):
Katherine R. Fikac* and James B. Johnson, PhD

Judging Forms Official judges only