• lynetteplenderleith

Sam Wallace - Heath Frogs - Mini-conference 2022

Sam Wallace

University of Newcastle

@WallacXFrogging | @wallace_s_

Samantha Wallace is a PhD candidate at The University of Newcastle. Sam completed her Bachelor of Environmental Science (Honours) at Deakin University, where she scampered after frogs across agricultural landscapes. With Newcastle as her new home, Sam’s PhD investigates all things Littlejohn’s and Watson’s Tree Frog-gy (Litoria littlejohni and Litoria watsoni).

Uncovering the ecology of threatened Heath Frogs

Perhaps the greatest challenge to conservation science today is the endeavour to preserve species from ever-accelerating rates of extinction. Such rapid and sustained species declines place considerable pressure on the development effective conservation initiatives. Successful conservation strategies must be founded upon a well-informed understanding of species’ ecology. Unfortunately, ecological information is not readily available for many cryptic anurans. This paucity of information is particularly apparent for Littlejohn’s Tree Frog (Litoria littlejohni) and Watson’s Tree Frog (Litoria watsoni). The ecology and breeding biology of heath frogs remains relatively unknown, largely due to their cryptic nature and apparent rarity. To combat significant ecological knowledge gaps and investigate breeding habitat selection, we undertook surveys for L. littlejohni and L. watsoni across 31 sites in southern NSW. Overall, L. littlejohni and L. watsoni exhibited slightly different relationships with breeding habitat features, although the presence of fish had a strong negative impact on both species.