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Amphibian Phenology

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Impact of Climate Change on Amphibian Phenology

Eileen Stachowski, Susan E. Powers, Clarkson University, Potsdam NY

July 2011


Type:  Project module

Length:  2-4 45-minute periods

Content Area/Course: Biology, Environmental Science

Targeted Grade Level:  10-12

Prerequisite Knowledge: Basic amphibian reproductive cycles, general concepts and appreciation that the climate has been and will continue to change (presenting this background is not included in the above estimate for the length of this project).

Prerequisite Skills: Basic MS Excel experience – manipulating data, creating graphs

Technology/web resources: MS Excel

Thinking skill development: Comprehension, evaluation

NASA Resources used: None


In this computer lab, students investigate changes in the dates of frog first appearance and mating calls in the Ithaca, NY region between the early and late twentieth century.  These dates are compared to a variety of monthly and seasonal average temperatures recorded at area weather stations to determine any relationship between climate changes and species reproductive cycles.  Students then use future temperatures predicted by global climate models to infer further changes in frog behavior.  All of the data are already compiled in an MS Excel spreadsheet.