Charlotte Steelman

I am a junior biology major at Davidson College, and I have been involved in Herpetology lab since the Fall of my sophomore year. I am involved in running the drift fence on the Davidson Ecological Preserve, various outreach events, and helping out with other student projects. Currently, I am conducting my own research to examine the effects of environmental variation and anthropogenic noise, specifically airplane traffic, on anuran calling activity and calling parameters. I am using automated recording systems, manual calling surveys, weather data loggers, and data from the Davidson College Weather Station for this study.


The Effects of Environmental Variation & Anthropogenic Noise on Anuran Calling Charlotte K. Steelman and Michael E. Dorcas

Documentation of declines in amphibian populations has been both dramatic and alarming. Most of these declines have been documented in anuran populations and various factors have been implied as causes for these declines. Because anurans rely on acoustic communication for reproductive activity, it is important to understand factors, both natural and anthropogenic, that may affect calling. In an effort to understand the environmental and anthropogenic variants affecting anuran-calling activity, we measured anuran-calling activity at two ephemeral wetlands using manual calling surveys and automated recording systems. We describe the effects of environmental variation and anthropogenic noise, primarily airplane traffic, on the calling activity of Pseudacris crucifer, Pseudacris feriarum, Rana sphenocephala, Rana palustris, and Acris crepitans. Based on the results of this study, we predict the best conditions for sampling these species using manual calling surveys. Furthermore, we develop an understanding of the effects of ambient noise on anuran calling and how that noise might affect anuran reproductive fitness.


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Some Pictures Taken by: Audrey Heupel & Jeff Hall