ARIO Glyphosate Amphibians - 140-801

Description: This three-year study was initiated in the spring of 2008 by a research team from the Canadian Forest Service.  The study involves direct collaboration and support from a variety of agencies including academic, provincial government, industry, and non-government organizations as acknowledged below.  This study is designed to investigate the potential effects of aerial herbicide (glyphosate) treatments on the quality of  ephemeral wetland habitats in forest cutovers as  related  to sustainability of  sub and metapopulations of wood frogs  (Rana sylvatica) which breed ubiquitously in these types of microsites.   

Over the next three years, this research project will:

  • Involve intensive assessment of up to 24 monitoring areas established in regenerating cutover sites typical of the boreal forests of northern Ontario.
  • Each monitoring area is comprised of 25 m radius circles encompassing numerous shallow ephemeral pools
  • Detailed characterization of each monitoring area includes classification of the sites relative to forest ecosystem classification standards, assessment of the vegetative community, hydrological parameters and water quality and quantitation of herbicide deposition as it relates to exposure regimes for amphibians in both aquatic and terrestrial compartments of these sites. 
  • Monitoring for potential direct or sublethal toxic effects, a particular emphasis is on more subtle indirect effects which may result from changes within the wetland breeding habitat (e.g. breeding pool hydroperiod, reduced vegetative cover).
  •  Examining the importance of adjacent aggregate retention islands as potential upland overwintering habitat.

To examine potential interactive effects of  site quality and herbicide induced on local populations of wood frogs, a number of biological, hydrological and chemical variables are being monitored within herbicide treated and untreated control sites through time.  Wood frog breeding effort, breeding success and recruitment are considered as the key response variables.  In conjunction with a suite of standard protocols for egg mass survey, hatching success and determination of abundance of larval, metamorph, juvenile and adult wood frogs in each site, advanced techniques such as bioacoustic monitoring and visible implant elastomer (VIE) marking are being employed in this study.  Novel remote acoustic recording devices (Songmeters®) and sophisticated acoustic analysis software (Songscope®) recently introduced by  Wildlife Acoustics Inc., (Concord MA) are being utilized for comparative monitoring of the onset and cessation of wood frog breeding, mating call occurrence, frequency and intensity in treated and untreated sites.

We wish to acknowledge key contributions by partners at the University of Guelph, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Tembec Forest Research Partnership, Tembec - Spruce Falls, General Airspray, and the administrative support from the Agriculture Institute of Ontario and the Canadian Ecology Centre  which made this project possible.  We are particularly grateful to the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and the Canadian Forest Service “Biodiversity Project (D14-5)” for financial support to this initiative.  For further information on this study please contact the principal investigator:


The Project Team:  Dean Thompson, Sam Howard, L. Perry and K.R. Solomon



Forest Wetland Habitat Quality Study Poster


Status Reports:

Annual Report (2008)

Status Report (2008-2009)

Financial Summary (2008-2009)

Status Report (2009-2010)

Status Report (2010-2011)


For Additional Information Contact:

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