The AmphIBI is a bioassessment method that uses amphibians as indicators of wetland ecological condition. Amphibian community monitoring for the AmphIBI needs to occur over three separate twenty-four hour periods during the amphibian breeding season. The AmphIBI is comprised of five metrics based on different aspects of amphibian community structure. The metrics are scored, with higher scores being assigned to results representing better ecological conditions, and totaled to provide the AmphIBI score.
The background information behind the development of the AmphIBI and its protocols will be covered, and the ecology of vernal pools will be described. The keys to identification of adult and larval wetland amphibians will be presented in the laboratory. Each attendee will have a microscope and amphibian voucher specimens to use to learn the important characteristics that distinguish between adult and larval forms of species of salamanders, frogs and toads. The instructor will use a microscope that projects images to make clear exactly which taxonomic features are most important. The day will finish in the field at a local vernal pool and attendees will deploy funnel traps while learning AmphIBI field sampling protocols.
Participants will return to the vernal pool to check the traps, identify and release adult amphibians, and collect and preserve larval amphibians. After returning to the laboratory, participants will identify the larval amphibians collected using the keys learned during Day One. Additional preserved specimens will be reviewed to make sure all attendees are comfortable with distinguishing the characteristics that confirm their identification. The day will end with an explanation of the metrics that comprise the AmphIBI, and how the data collected in the field is used to calculate AmphIBI scores.
Attendees will depart the course having strong skills in the identification of the amphibians that inhabit wetlands, and the ability to monitor and assess vernal pools using the AmphIBI. Graduates of the course will also understand the important principles involved in amphibian conservation and vernal pool protection, enhancement, management and restoration. Attendees will receive a certificate documenting their course completion.