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Extramural Research

Grantee Research Project Results

Grantee Research Project Results

Changing Rainfall Patterns in the Neotropics, Predation, and Amphibian Declines: Implications for Aquatic Ecosystem Processes

EPA Grant Number: FP917187
Title: Changing Rainfall Patterns in the Neotropics, Predation, and Amphibian Declines: Implications for Aquatic Ecosystem Processes
Investigators: Hite, Jessica Leigh
Institution: Indiana University
EPA Project Officer: Just, Theodore J.
Project Period: September 1, 2010 through August 31, 2013
Project Amount: $111,000
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2010)
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Fellowship - Global Change

Description:

Objective:

This research will examine how climate change alters species interactions and aquatic ecosystem health and function via changes in rainfall periodicity and intensity.

Synopsis:

This research will examine how climate change alters species interactions and aquatic ecosystem health and function via changes in rainfall periodicity and intensity. I will use a combination of observational, experimental, and modeling approaches. The overall goal is to synthesize the individual parts to gain insight on the impact climate change, terrestrial predators, and abiotic conditions have on tadpoles and how these factors influence the aquatic food web.

Approach:

The first part of my fieldwork will be conducted in ponds located along a precipitation gradient throughout Panama. I will focus on treefrog species with arboreal eggs and aquatic larvae. Species that lay their eggs out of water may be particularly vulnerable to variation in rainfall patterns associated with global climate change. To better understand the mechanisms that determine survival and phenotype of treefrog eggs in the presence of different predators and under various climatic conditions, I will develop a simulation model using data collected from my fieldwork that incorporates differences in clutch hydrology and predation rates. This model will aid in conservation efforts by graphically demonstrating how climate change may affect ecosystem function via effects on individual species interactions. The combination of observational, experimental, and theoretical studies will strengthen our ability to more rigorously investigate the direct and indirect effects of global climate change on species interactions and how these changes may influence aquatic ecosystem processes.

Expected Results:

The overall goal is to synthesize the individual parts to gain insight on the impact climate change, terrestrial predators and abiotic conditions have on tadpoles and how these factors influence the aquatic food web. This project will allow more rigorous statistical analysis of the links between climate change, population declines, and natural population fluctuations.

Potential to Further Environmental/Human Health Protection:

These results will provide valuable information on the effects of climate change on species loss and related ecosystems and contributes to our understanding of research on the consequences of ecological diversity.

Supplemental Keywords:

climate change, ecosystem function, aquatic food webs, amphibians, biodiversity, direct and indirect effects, neotropics, conservation,

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The perspectives, information and conclusions conveyed in research project abstracts, progress reports, final reports, journal abstracts and journal publications convey the viewpoints of the principal investigator and may not represent the views and policies of ORD and EPA. Conclusions drawn by the principal investigators have not been reviewed by the Agency.

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