Tracking the Moor frog - Spanish scientist at LIFE-AMPHIKULT

September 2012

Tracking the Moor frog - Spanish scientist at LIFE-AMPHIKULT

Tracking the Moor frogDiana Marco wades slowly through the knee-deep water of a swampland in the Barnstorfer Moor. The young scientist from Spain is on the lookout for Moor frog tadpoles. A few weeks ago, she had found numerous spawn clumbs here. Some of them were afflicted with mildew, an occurrence that can be observed quite often in acidic water bodies. Do some of the eggs still have a chance of developing into grown frogs? Diana Marco pursued this question in her just finished thesis, which she carried out under the supervision of Dr. Markus Richter, project manager of LIFE-AMPHIKULT.

Diana Marco began her life science studies at the Polytechnic University of Valencia and completed a bachelor degree there. Subsequently, she studied "Sustainable forest and nature management" (SUFONAMA) for two years with a scholarship from the Erasmus Mundus program of the European Union. Her first year of studies at the University in Göttingen was followed by a second year at the University in Copenhagen where she worked on her thesis. Her field work was completed in various moor areas in the Diepholz district, where she analysed the influence of the acidic moor waters on the reproductive success of the Moor frog.

Moor frogIn contrast to the information stated in some reference books, she has determined that Moor frogs are able to successfully reproduce in very acidic water bodies. Though a part of the eggs die due to the mildew, another part is able to develop into young frogs. The lack of fish and various other tadpole predators evidently suffices to counterbalance the damage done by the acidic water, resulting in an overall satisfactory reproductive success.

"Diana's work has provided valuable basic data for our action planning", according to supervisor Markus Richter. She was able to establish the existence of Moor frogs spawning at several water bodies that had been created or redeveloped as part the LIFE-AMPHIKULT project. "The discovery that Moor frogs are able to successfully reproduce in rather acidic water bodies is very helpful in planning the location of future spawning grounds."