Discipline: Ecology Environmental and Earth Sciences
Steven A. Salinas - New Mexico Highlands University
Co-Author(s): Justin Siaz, Son Tran, Alfonzo Trujillo, Nieves Arellano, Micah Dabough, and Jesus Rivas, New Mexico Highlands University
Invasive species are the single worst conservation problem at the species level worldwide. Invaders can negatively affect the diversity of native species via predation or competition for resources. American Bullfrogs were introduced in Northern New Mexico in the 1940s and because the introduction was so long ago there have been no quantification on the impact bullfrogs’ cause on the native aquatic fauna. In this study I analyzed 600 stomach contents of bullfrogs in the Mora River over a four year period. The prey index of the frogs was split into male vs female categories showing the breakdown of diet preference between them. Further analysis showed differences in mass of prey, and comparisons of the most captured food. Most of the stomachs contained Northern Crayfish (Orconectes virilis) followed by whatever insect was abundant at the time. We often found some unidentified white slime that we believe may be from eggs masses of other amphibians or fishes. Surprisingly, we did not find any leopard frogs in the diet of bullfrogs!
Follow up studies have also been done on how the populations of these crayfish (Orconectus virilis) are thriving throughout Northern New Mexico with and the without the presence of Bullfrogs. Mark and recapture methods are used to estimate populations in these areas as well as measurements of conditions of the organisms captured. A key question examined is Bullfrog presence yielding or promoting Northern Crayfish presence in Northern New Mexico. I hypothesize that Bullfrogs fallow the Crayfish and limit the Crayfishes impact on an environment.Not Submitted
Funder Acknowledgement(s): LSAMP New Mexico, WASEO Arizona State, NRCT, EPSCORE NM, and New Mexico Highlands University ARMAS Internships.
Faculty Advisor: Jesus Rivas, email@example.com