The security of the northern leopard frog (Rana pipiens) varies spatially with populations east and west of North Dakota considered as secure and at risk, respectively. We used genetic markers to characterize the conservation status of northern leopard frog populations across North Dakota. We used multiple regression analyses and model selection to evaluate correlations of expected heterozygosity (HE) with the direct and additive effects of: i) geographic location,ii) wetland density and iii) average annual precipitation. There was lower genetic diversity in the western portion of the state due to lower levels of diversity for populations southwest of the Missouri River. This may reflect a refugial/colonization signature for the only non-glaciated area of North Dakota. Genetic diversity was also positively associated with wetland densities which is consistent with the reliance of this species on a mosaic of wetlands. Our findings suggest that populations in the southwestern part of North Dakota are of higher conservation concern, a finding consistent with the higher risk noted for northern leopard frog populations in most states west of North Dakota. Our findings also pose the hypothesis that climate change induced changes in wetland densities will reduce genetic diversity of northern leopard frog populations.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Clinal patterns in genetic variation for northern leopard frog (Rana pipiens): Conservation status and population histories|
|Contributing office(s)||Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center|
|Google Analytic Metrics||Metrics page|