Date of Award

Winter 2006

Project Type


Program or Major

Natural Resources: Wildlife

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Kimberly Babbitt


Strategies to conserve vernal pool-dependent amphibians emphasize the maintenance of adequate areas (buffers) of terrestrial habitat surrounding the pool. I conducted a large-scale field study that specifically examined the effects of buffer width manipulation on adult and metamorph wood frogs at eleven vernal pools in a managed forest in central Maine. Buffer width treatments were 30 m or 100 m forest buffer surrounded by a 100 m clearcut, or no cut (reference). I encircled pools with drift fences and monitored wood frogs from April--November, 2004 and 2005 using pitfall traps and radio-telemetry. Buffer width had no effect on the number of immigrating adults, emigrating metamorphs, or metamorph size. Adult wood frogs from reference sites were larger than those from buffer treatment sites. Smaller buffers had lower adult recapture rates. Frogs from buffer treatment sites moved farther than those from reference sites, and females moved on average 92 m farther than males. Clearcuts were permeable, but generally avoided. Smaller buffers provide less available upland habitat, and force more wood frogs to seek alternate habitat beyond the clearcut perimeter.