We're a little late in getting this out, but most of the breeding season is still ahead of us. Here's basically what participants need to know, with more to follow. Contact Mark Bailey if you need Google Earth placemarks showing all historic and extant gopher frog sites for Alabama.
Remember to rport on every site visited, regardless of results. Negative data is important.
Gopher frogs typically breed from January through March (with exceptions) in fishless, ephemeral woodland ponds or pools that are also used by other species including spring peepers, chorus frogs, leopard frogs, newts, and ambystomatid salamanders. Look for relatively open pools in or adjacent to natural forest. A “good” gopher frog pond is relatively open (not shaded by tree canopy) and has abundant emergent vegetation (Andropogon, Xyris, etc.).
Submit all data electronically, as text copied into the “Description” field of a Google Earth placemark (saved as a .kmz file). The following can be copied and pasted into your own customized field data sheet:
Observer(s)___________________________________________________ Date_________________________ Time___________________________ County: _______________________ Air temp ___________ (specify F or C) Time since last rain: ___ raining, ___<8>48 hours) Adjacent land use: ___ natural forest ___pine plantation ___agricultural ___ suburban Other: _____________________________________________________________ Approximate maximum depth of pool (in feet): ________ Fish present? ___Yes ___No Amphibian egg masses seen? ___Yes ___No If yes, can you ID to species? ________________________________________________ (gopher frog and leopard frog masses are similar-looking; only ID these if you have experience).
All amphibian species observed/heard (do not collect, but photograph any gopher frog found).
If possible, obtain a recording of any frog choruses. Other observations: __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
After entering the points and data in Google Earth (you can create a new folder to hold multiple kmz files), email to coordinator Mark Bailey at email@example.com. (cell: 334-312-4258).
If Google Earth is not an option for you, include GPS lat/long data with any submission. Otherwise, GPS data is not needed.
This is the blog of the ALAPARCGopher Frog Initiative, begun in November 2009. We are a subset of ALAPARC members working together to find and document previously unknown gopher frog populations (both Lithobates capito and L. sevosus) in Alabama. We will also visit and document the status of known populations.
As the initiative progresses, access to this blog will be by invitation only. Private property is to be respected, and site visits must be with owner permission. Since we may be discussing locations on private lands for which we do not yet have ownership info, it was deemed prudent to eventually make this blog private.