This is the personal blog of Jennifer Olker.  I hope to get you interested in amphibians that may in your own backyard: listening for them, looking for them, and learning more about their significance in the world.

Why are amphibians important?
Amphibian populations are declining worldwide, with species extinct or threatened on almost every continent in both disturbed and pristine areas. 33% of frog and toad (Anura) and 46% salamader and newt (Caudata) species as either threatened or extinct, with populations declining faster than both birds and mammals. There is no known cause for almost half of the rapidly declining species. (Stuart et al. 2004).  

Amphibian declines could mean loss of species diversity, declining populations of common species, and indicate potential losses of other organisms in both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.  To learn more about amphibian declines see AmphibiaWeb.

citations: Stuart, S.N. et al.(2004) Status and trends of amphibian declines and extinctions worldwide. Science 306, 1783-1786

Where is Duluth?
Duluth is on the shores of Lake Superior in northeastern Minnesota.  This city covers more that 80 square miles, but has multitudes of green spaces (11,000 acres!) that are utilized by human recreationalists as well as wildlife.  More about Duluth can be found at Lake Superior Streams or Wikipedia (as well as many other locations).

What kind of topics will I find here?
  • North American amphibians, especially those found in the upper Midwest
  • Spring phenology
  • How to conduct frog and toad surveys (and what about salamanders)
  • Amphibian development
  • Wildlife use of open spaces
  • Current amphibian research
  • Threats to amphibian populations
What are your credentials?
In addition to listening to and searching out amphibians every spring and summer, I have academic training and professional background in amphibian ecology.  I have been a research fellow at the Natural Resources Research Institute since 2004.  My interests include amphibian communities, ecotoxicology, and wetland ecology.  I completed my Master’s in Biology at the University of Minnesota Duluth in 2004 and received a B.S. in Biology and Mathematics from Northland College in Ashland WI in 2000.  Currently, I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Integrated Biosciences Program at the University of Minnesota Duluth.

Diclaimer: The opinions expressed here are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Natural Resources Research Institute or the University of Minnesota Duluth.