Behind the Scene Factors

"Wetlands Reserve Program site in Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana." This area is apart of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

“Wetlands Reserve Program site in Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana.”

by Kaci Jones

We all know multiple fairytales from when we were youngsters, and many of us wish one day that something magical like that might happen to us. For example, us finding our prince while we were asleep, like in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, or even in a frog after that gross, slimy kiss, like in The Princess and The Frog. But did you ever wonder about all the biological factors that went into these stories? For instance, did you ever wonder how the wicked stepmother changed the characteristic of the apple’s physical structure to become poisonous or how the frog can live successfully in the area that just so happens to be where the princess was at? YOU DIDN’T?! Well as child that’s all I thought about.

Lets take The Princess and The Frog fairytale. Most frogs and toads, also called anurans, live in swamp-like flooded habitats. These habitats are full of vegetation that is suspended in water[1]. One example of this type of vegetation is nymphaeaceae commonly known as water lilies[2]. The anurans’ initial habitats are natural buffers that are positioned in between the uplands and another contiguous body of water, and are a natural filter of pollutants, which makes these areas a risk to all the species that live there[3]. According the Environmental Protection Agency, it is “important to preserve and restore damage to the wetlands because these areas can play a significant role in managing adverse water quality impacts.” This is like a stranger coming into your home and them leaving trash all throughout the property. If the house doesn’t get cleaned then your home becomes polluted, and then is considered an unsafe environment to live in. You then would probably want to clean up your house. That is what the EPA is taking about when they say you “preserve and restore”. You need to bring their environment back to where it was and if you can’t, like red stains that won’t come out of white carpet, then you try your best to not let it get any worse.

"Wetlands Reserve Program site in Morehouse Parish, Louisiana." This area is apart of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

“Wetlands Reserve Program site in Morehouse Parish, Louisiana.”

When animals’ surroundings get tampered with they are forced to adapt. This can cause animals to change everything, like: eating habits, death rate and birth rate of particular animals affected. Michele A. Gaston, primary author of a 2010 study on wetland management in the conservation of endangered Anurans in PLOS One, states that, “draining of existing wetlands or replacement of ephemeral wetlands by more permanent impoundments may have negative impacts on amphibian populations.” This shows that when trying to bring a habitat back to its original state that you have to be careful and fully grasp the animals’ environment to see if the actions you’re about to take are the right decisions for that species. Gaston also says that when planning an artificial habitat it is important to use observed evidence to guaranty full benefits after construction[4].

One thing essential for rebuilding a population is to make sure that the species are mating efficiently. If efficiency is met then the growth population rate will increase causing positive relations, which is called the allee effect. Gaston notes that, “frog and toad species that employ aggregated breeding strategies may be particularly vulnerable to component allee effect as their populations decline[4].” In this case, if the breeding were to not increase after measures were taken to increase the population and the wetlands were too polluted to survive, then in reality the prince would never have been in the water where the princess found him.

[1] http://www.nerrs.noaa.gov/Doc/SiteProfile/ACEBasin/html/biores/herps/hptext.htm

[2]http://www.epa.gov/region1/npdes/dewatering/noi/2011/LibertyMutualResearchGroupHopkintonMA.pdf

[3] water.epa.gov/polwaste/nps/wetlands.ctm

[4]http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0010102

All pictures are areas that are apart of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.: http://www.nwrc.usgs.gov/topics/amphibian/wrp.htm

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