TCBES Thesis Defense via Zoom - Stephanie Gayle - Event Details

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TCBES Thesis Defense via Zoom - Stephanie Gayle

Location: Online

TCBES Master's Thesis Defense via Zoom - Stephanie Gayle
Wednesday, April 8, 2020, 12:00 PM
Location: Online Only

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Meeting ID: 406 910 622

Title: Thermal Dependence of Eleutherodactylus coqui Vocalization on Windward Hawaii Island

Abstract: The invasive coqui frog (Eleutherodactylus coqui) has rapidly colonized four main Hawaiian islands and its populations have spread over large areas producing a number of negative social, ecological, and economic impacts. On Hawaii Island, populations sizes and densities are highest in the state, and the frogs occur over major tracts of coastal forests and the lower boundaries of montane wet forests at higher elevations. In their native Puerto Rico, coqui frogs are found from sea level to the top of the island (1065 m) and it is currently an open question how high coqui frog populations will eventually range on Hawaii Island. Cold temperature limitation is a strong hypothesis for the altitude distribution limitation on Hawaii Island. In this study, the thermal limitations on coqui frog calling behavior were determined in order to infer if cooler high altitude temperatures serve as a limiting condition for the continued expansion of coqui frog populations. Coqui frogs were found to stop calling around 14-15 °C at high elevation and around 19-20 °C at low elevations while normal levels of chorusing occurred around 16-17 °C and 20-21 °C at high and low elevations, respectively. Differences in mean air temperature observed between elevations were very similar for different degrees of calling activity, suggesting that higher elevation populations have acclimatized or adapted to be active under cooler conditions. In addition to low temperature, low moisture was also found to be associated with low levels of coqui frog activity. The relationship between temperature and coqui frog calling supports observations reported over smaller temperature ranges in previous studies. That is there is a strong positive relationship between temperature and temporal parameters of call acoustics (call note length, inter-note interval, and total call length), and a strong negative relationship between temperature and call note frequency. The coqui frog’s thermal tolerances imply that they can occupy habitats throughout all islands except for the alpine and summit areas and drier grassland and shrub environments. While the effects of coqui frogs on lowland ecosystems replete with non-native species have been unexpectedly modest, the frogs could have greater impact at higher elevations where native flora and fauna assemblages dominate. Such sensitive habitats should be monitored for possible unappreciated effects of higher elevation coqui frog populations

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Tags: tcbes research stephanie gayle coqui coqui frog Online Only online

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