Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


College of Science and Mathematics



Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Lisa Hazard

Committee Member

Kirsten Monsen

Committee Member

Scott Kight


Amphibians face many daily challenges in their natural habitats, ranging from escaping predators to finding suitable mates. In addition, they may also find themselves facing anthropogenic challenges, such as crossing busy highways and coping with polluted water. This study focuses on the impacts that water polluted with road salt may have on roadside amphibian populations, utilizing outdoor and laboratory experiments. Both experiments tested water salinity preference for the pickerel frog (Rana palustris), and found that R. palustris did not show preference for either low or high salinity in short-term choice trials. Therefore, it is possible that R. palustris are not able to detect or do not show aversion behaviors toward potentially physiologically dangerous high salinities, which could lead to population-level effects if salinities are elevated. Further studies of long-term behaviors in response to increased salinity are needed. In addition, further studies on the effects of alternative road treatment chemicals on amphibian physiology are recommended.

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Biology Commons