Underdown, Chantal

Project title: Frog and frog habitat census

Department: Environmental Studies

Faculty supervisor: Dr. Alejandro Frid

"Within a proposed UNESCO biosphere reserve and Howe Sound Biosphere Region, Bowen Island is rich in biodiversity and diverse ecosystems including habitats ideal for a variety of frogs. As a mountainous, rocky island, the island biodiversity is vulnerable to drought and human impact. As an indicator species, frogs may be particularly affected by individual or cumulative changes to ecosystems. There is a critical need for baseline data on frog species, populations and habitat. Due to the limited space of an island, every ecosystem that supports a frog is significant for the survival of the breeding population. This study will: identify species of island frogs; identify frog populations on map; identify threats and potential threats to frogs, as well as potential mitigation of the threats; provide a base for any long-term research on effects of climate change, droughts, human population growth, tourism, development, and roads; be useful regarding potential industrial logging on crown land; engage the community in frog conservation. Community outreach will help identify sites on public, and privately owned property. Anecdotal evidence of historic and current frog populations will be collected and include observed habitat changes. Field Research will include: frog call recordings; observations of eggs, tadpoles and frogs at various sites; search for Tailed Frog, which has not been recorded on island. Many small losses of habitat can be devastating to a small or fragile population. An assessment of frogs and the ecosystems that support frogs will be a valuable tool for immediate and long-term stewardship."