Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department or School


First Advisor

Katherine Greenwald, PhD

Second Advisor

Kristin Judd, PhD

Third Advisor

Anne Casper, PhD


Urbanization alters animal behaviors and especially impacts amphibians due to their sensitivity to environmental change, small home ranges, and reliance on acoustic communication to locate mates. A newly discovered leopard frog species, Rana kauffeldi, was recently described from the New York City metro area. This species was previously characterized as R. sphenocephala due to their nearly identical morphology, but the two species are distinguished based on genetics and calling characteristics. The goal of this project was to document calling intensity and phenology (timing) differences between urban and rural populations of R. kauffeldi, as well as describe variation across latitude, and document temperature conditions. We hypothesized that rural locations would have larger choruses because they are less fragmented and thus more likely to support larger populations. We also predicted that light pollution would cause urban populations to begin calling later in the evening. Finally, we predicted that warmer temperatures would allow southern sites to begin calling earlier in the year, and we performed descriptive analyses of temperature trends throughout the season. We found significantly larger choruses at rural sites, a non-significant trend of calling beginning later in the evening at urban locations, calling began significantly earlier in the year at southern sites, and a non-significant pattern of temperatures increasing throughout the season. It is important to further understand the impacts of urbanization on animals because it can alter essential breeding behaviors like calling, and to accurately define species to formulate appropriate conservation efforts.

Included in

Biology Commons