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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program

Environmental Conservation

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



Amphibian populations are declining globally due to a litany of factors including pollution, disease, climate change, and most importantly, habitat destruction. As most amphibian life histories involve their populations being recruitment limited, focusing on the mechanism behind breeding habitat selection will reveal useful cues that managers may use to increase abundance and breeding success. Though there are many theoretical models that describe the distribution of animals in response to a resource, the ideal free distribution (IFD) theory has not yet been applied to amphibian settling decisions. Through this application of the IFD, I have found that a population of wood frogs (Lithobates sylvaticus) in Patuxent National Wildlife Refuge select vernal pools that are large, deep, and hold water into the summer months to breed from 2010-2015. This information will provide managers with the ability to predict sites where wood frogs will breed in the future, as well as describe the cues that wood frogs are cueing in on so we can protect, alter, or create ideal breeding habitat.


First Advisor

Evan H. Campbell Grant

Second Advisor

Paige Warren

Third Advisor

David Miller