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Cleveland, OH, United States

Guayasamin J.M.,Technological Amerindian University, Ambato | Krynak T.,Cleveland Metroparks | Krynak K.,Case Western Reserve University | Culebras J.,Technological Amerindian University, Ambato | And 2 more authors.
Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society | Year: 2015

We describe a new frog, Pristimantis mutabilis sp. nov., from the Andes of Ecuador. Individuals of the new species are remarkable for their ability to change skin texture from tuberculate to almost smooth in a few minutes, being the first documented amphibian species to show such dramatic phenotypic plasticity. The new taxon is assigned to the P. myersi group. It differs from other members of its group by body size (adult males 17.2-17.4mm; adult females 20.9-23.2mm), arboreal habitat, and red flash coloration in females. We document three call types for the new species, which differ through their number of notes and amplitude peaks. The three types are pulsed calls that share a dominant frequency of 3186.9-3445.3Hz. Surprisingly, we also document similar skin texture plasticity in species (P.sobetes) from a different species group, suggesting that this ability might be more common than previously thought. The discovery of these variable species poses challenges to amphibian taxonomists and field biologists, who have traditionally used skin texture and presence/absence of tubercles as important discrete traits in diagnosing and identifying species. Reciprocal monophyly and genetic distances also support the validity of the new species, as it has distances of 15.1-16.3% (12S) and 16.4-18.6% (16S) from the most similar species, Pristimantis verecundus. Additionally, each of the two known populations of Pristimantis mutabilis are reciprocally monophyletic and exhibit a high genetic distance between them (5.0-6.5%). This pattern is best explained by the presence of a dry valley (Guayllabamba River) that seems to be acting as a dispersal barrier. © 2015 The Linnean Society of London.

Stapanian M.A.,U.S. Geological Survey | Adams J.V.,U.S. Geological Survey | Fennessy M.S.,Kenyon College | Mack J.,Cleveland Metroparks | Micacchion M.,Midwest Biodiversity Institute
Wetlands | Year: 2013

A persistent question among ecologists and environmental managers is whether constructed wetlands are structurally or functionally equivalent to naturally occurring wetlands. We examined 19 variables collected from 10 constructed and nine natural emergent wetlands in Ohio, USA. Our primary objective was to identify candidate indicators of wetland class (natural or constructed), based on measurements of soil properties and an index of vegetation integrity, that can be used to track the progress of constructed wetlands toward a natural state. The method of nearest shrunken centroids was used to find a subset of variables that would serve as the best classifiers of wetland class, and error rate was calculated using a five-fold cross-validation procedure. The shrunken differences of percent total organic carbon (% TOC) and percent dry weight of the soil exhibited the greatest distances from the overall centroid. Classification based on these two variables yielded a misclassification rate of 11 % based on cross-validation. Our results indicate that % TOC and percent dry weight can be used as candidate indicators of the status of emergent, constructed wetlands in Ohio and for assessing the performance of mitigation. The method of nearest shrunken centroids has excellent potential for further applications in ecology. © 2013 US Government.

Dananay K.L.,Case Western Reserve University | Krynak K.L.,Case Western Reserve University | Krynak T.J.,Cleveland Metroparks | Benard M.F.,Case Western Reserve University
Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry | Year: 2015

Road salt runoff has potentially large effects on wetland communities, but is typically investigated in short-term laboratory trials. The authors investigated effects of road salt contamination on wood frogs (Rana sylvatica) by combining a field survey with 2 separate experiments. The field survey tested whether wood frog larval traits were associated with road salt contamination in natural wetlands. As conductivity increased, wood frog larvae were less abundant, but those found were larger. In the first experiment of the present study, the authors raised larvae in outdoor artificial ponds under 4 salt concentrations and measured larval vital rates, algal biomass, and zooplankton abundance. Salt significantly increased larval growth, algal biomass, and decreased zooplankton abundance. In the second experiment, the authors raised larvae to metamorphosis in the presence and absence of salt contamination and followed resulting juvenile frogs in terrestrial pens at high and low densities. Exposure to road salt as larvae caused juvenile frogs to have greater mortality in low-density terrestrial environments, possibly because of altered energy allocation, changes in behavior, or reduced immune defenses. The present study suggests that low concentrations of road salt can have positive effects on larval growth yet negative effects on juvenile survival. These results emphasize the importance of testing for effects of contaminants acting through food webs and across multiple life stages as well as the potential for population-level consequences in natural environments. © 2015 SETAC.

Stapanian M.A.,U.S. Geological Survey | MacK J.,Cleveland Metroparks | Adams J.V.,U.S. Geological Survey | Gara B.,U.S. Environmental Protection Agency | Micacchion M.,Midwest Biodiversity Institute
Ecological Indicators | Year: 2013

Indices of biological integrity of wetlands based on vascular plants (VIBIs) have been developed in many areas in the USA. Knowledge of the best predictors of VIBIs would enable management agencies to make better decisions regarding mitigation site selection and performance monitoring criteria. We use a novel statistical technique to develop predictive models for an established index of wetland vegetation integrity (Ohio VIBI), using as independent variables 20 indices and metrics of habitat quality, wetland disturbance, and buffer area land use from 149 wetlands in Ohio, USA. For emergent and forest wetlands, predictive models explained 61% and 54% of the variability, respectively, in Ohio VIBI scores. In both cases the most important predictor of Ohio VIBI score was a metric that assessed habitat alteration and development in the wetland. Of secondary importance as a predictor was a metric that assessed microtopography, interspersion, and quality of vegetation communities in the wetland. Metrics and indices assessing disturbance and land use of the buffer area were generally poor predictors of Ohio VIBI scores. Our results suggest that vegetation integrity of emergent and forest wetlands could be most directly enhanced by minimizing substrate and habitat disturbance within the wetland. Such efforts could include reducing or eliminating any practices that disturb the soil profile, such as nutrient enrichment from adjacent farm land, mowing, grazing, or cutting or removing woody plants. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Hausman C.E.,Cleveland Metroparks | Hausman C.E.,Kent State University | Bertke M.M.,Kent State University | Bertke M.M.,University of Notre Dame | And 2 more authors.
Plant Genetic Resources: Characterisation and Utilisation | Year: 2014

The USA is experiencing a prolific invasion of the wood-boring emerald ash borer, Agrilus planipennis. Native to Asia, this beetle completes its life cycle on ash trees and results in nearly complete mortality of all infested trees. In the present study, we examined the levels of genetic diversity and differentiation among eight populations of Fraxinus pennsylvanica (green ash) using five polymorphic microsatellite loci. Genetic information was used to design guidelines for the establishment of a seed collection sampling strategy to conserve the genetic diversity of ash trees. We found high levels of genetic diversity, as indicated by the allelic richness, both across the populations (16.4 ± 5.18 alleles per locus) and within them (8.03 ± 1.21 alleles per locus). The expected and observed heterozygosity was also high (0.805 ± 0.38 and 0.908 ± 0.04, respectively), and there was moderate genetic differentiation among the populations (F ST= 0.083) with members of these eight populations grouped into three distinct clusters. We examined the relationship between the number of individuals sampled and the number of alleles captured in a random sample taken from a population of 10,000 individuals. Only sample sizes of 100 individuals captured most of the alleles (average = 78.74 alleles), but only seven of 50 samples effectively captured all the 82 alleles. Smaller samples did not capture all alleles. A probabilistic model was used to determine an optimal sampling strategy, and it was concluded that a collection of 200 seeds from each of five mother trees would have the highest likelihood of capturing all alleles in a population. © 2014 NIAB.

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