Client Spotlight: National Park Service (NPS) & The California Red-Legged Frog

national-park-servicePME customer Mark Mendelsohn is a biologist at the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area/National Park Service – Mountains Restoration Trust. The Park Service uses the miniDOT loggers to monitor oxygen to help maintain a number of delicate native ecosystems, including that of the near-extinct California Red-Legged Frog.

“The California red-legged frog generally prefers cool (not very cold nor warm) and moderately oxygenated waters,” said Mendelsohn. “We are using the DO measurements to ensure that the perennial pools in which we are raising the tadpoles remain suitable. Thanks to the loggers, we can tell if the temperature or DO spikes out of habitable ranges.”

Some believe global climate change may have contributed to the demise of the rare species over the last several decades, and utilizing PME loggers can be instrumental in monitoring the environment.

“No one knows definitively why the red-legged frogs disappeared in the Santa Monica Mountains some 50 to 70 years ago, but it was likely due to a combination of factors, including the introduction of non-native crayfish, bullfrogs and fish, as well as habitat loss, pollution, and possibly the global spread of the chytrid fungus,” said Mendelsohn. “We cannot say how climate change is directly affecting the frog, however we can say that extended drought (which may or may not be a result of climate change) is not good for the red-legged frogs. The population does best with perennial water nearby, and can be displaced by completely drying streams. While we are experiencing hotter summers, warmer air temperatures themselves likely do not harm red-legged frogs. However, inhabited pools that get too warm may cause fatal developmental problems in young frogs. The chytrid fungus actually spreads faster under cooler conditions.”

PME technology can be used in so many different applications.