WFS 433/533


University of Tennessee-Knoxville



Instructors:                            Dr. Matthew J. Gray (

Dr. Jason Hoverman (

Phone:                                    974-2740 (MG), 974-0831 (JT)

Office:                                    247 Ellington PSB (MG), 230 Ellington PSB (JT)

Meeting Time and Place     5:05–7:05 pm  T,R      113 PBB (2 field trips required: 13 March and 12 April)


Course Goal:              To expose students to the life history, ecology, conservation and management of amphibians through a combination of lectures, readings, class discussions, and field experiences.


Life History Text:      Biology of Amphibians, 1994, 2nd edition (ISBN 080184780X)

Authors:                     William E. Duellman and Linda Trueb


Conservation Text:   Readings will come from contemporary literature and several books.



Academic Assessment:


Weights of Academic Assessments:


WFS 433


WFS 533

● Test #1        



● Test #1        


● Test #2



● Test #2


● Amphibian ID Exam



● Amphibian ID Exam


● Participation1,2



● Participation1,2







1Participation includes attendance on the 2 field trips and facilitating a discussion on an amphibian paper.  You will earn 5% and 2.5% for attending each field trip for WFS 433 and 533, respectively.  For the Discussion, you will earn 10% and 5% for leading in WFS 433 and 533, respectively.   

2If you miss a field trip, you can either: (1) attend the SE PARC meeting, (2) write a 10-page scientific paper on an amphibian topic of your choice, or (3) accept the percent deduction (5% or 2.5%) in your final grade corresponding with the appropriate course number.

3One hour lecture on an amphibian topic – please see full syllabus for a list of available topics.


Your course grade will be determined using the following scale:



Final Weighted Percent



Final Weighted Percent






















Extra Credit:            


You can positively influence your final grade as much as 4.5% by volunteering for extra credit.  Volunteer work must be related to herpetofauna, and can include work on university projects, government agencies or NGOs.  For every 8 hours of volunteer work, your final grade will be increased by 1.5% up to 4.5% (24 hours total).  All volunteering must be completed by 25 April 2008.  A volunteer form (see website) must be filled out by the supervising individual.  Scott Dykes and Pete Wyatt (TWRA non-game biologists) often are looking for volunteer assistance (Region 4 Office: 1-800-332-0900;,  Also, Wayne Schacher (consulting biologist for Seven Islands Wildlife Refuge) frequently needs help with herptofaunal surveys (457-4355 home,  Bridgid Lammers (graduate student in the UT Wetlands Program,, 974-3897 office) needs assistance collecting tadpoles on 18-20 and 25-27 January and mid-late April 2008 (see flyer:  Lastly, you can earn 1% by attending Dr. Rick Relyea’s talk on Friday, 4 April, in 307 Science & Engineering Building at 3:30 pm.


Extra Credit Form


Extra credit also can be earned by attending the Annual Meeting of the Southeast Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation:  It is 21 – 24 February in Athens, Georgia. Your final grade will be increased by 3.5% for attending.


Full Syllabus


Teaching Resources:


Required Tennessee Anurans

Required Tennessee Salamanders


Required Readings:


TEST #1 Material


1)      Chap 15 (Origin and Evolution, Duellman and Trueb 1994; pp. 424-443).

2)      Tetrapod Phylogeny and Amphibian Origins (Laurin


3)      Origin and Phylogenetic Relationships of Living Amphibians (Zardoya and Meyer 2001)

4)      Global Amphibian Declines: A Problem in Applied Ecology (Alford and Richards 1999).

5)      Amphibian Declines: An immunological perspective (Carey et al. 1999).

6)      Chap 2 (Reproductive Strategies, Duellman and Trueb 1994; pp. 29-46).

7)      Zug Handouts

8)      Chap 3 (Courtship and Mating, Duellman and Trueb 1994)

9)      Types of Anuran Calls: MP3 file from The Calls of Frogs and Toads by Lang Elliot (Stackpole Books)

10)  Tadpoles: Macrophagous Predators (Petranka and Kennedy 1999)

11)  What do tadpoles really eat? (Altig et al. 2007)

12)  Chap 5 (Eggs & Development, Duellman and Trueb 1994; pp. 116-126, 132-139).

13)  Chap 6 (Larvae, Duellman and Trueb 1994; pp. 159-171).

14)  Tadpole Morphology (Altig 2007)

15)  Chap 7 (Metamorphosis, Duellman and Trueb 1994; pp. 173-189).

16)  Adaptive Plasticity (Newman 1992)

17)  Tennessee Amphibian Monitoring Protocol (if you did not attend TAMP Workshop).

18)  TAMP Groundtruthing Protocol (if you did not attend TAMP Workshop).

Plasticity Papers (Hoverman)

1)      Denoel et al. (2005)

2)      Denver et al. (1998)

3)      Peacor and Werner (1997)

4)      Pfennig (2006)

5)      Relyea (2000), (2002a), (2002b), (2007)

6)      Van Buskirk (2002)

7)      Warkentin (1995)

TEST #2 Material

Assigned by Speakers:

1)      Pinder et al. (1992) handout: Estivation and Hibernation

2)      Chap 10 (Enemies and Defense, Duellman and Trueb 1994)

3)      Johnson et al. (1999): Parasites (Ribeiroia)

4)      Goater and Ward (1992): Parasites (Nematodes)

5)      Burton et al. (2007): Breeding Call Survey Durations

6)      Effects of 7 silvicultural treatments on salamanders (Harpole and Haas 1999)

7)      Effects of silvicultural edges on amphibians (Demaynadier and Hunter 1998)

8)      Herpetofaunal Road Mortality and Use of Drift Fence and Culverts (Aresco 2005)

9)      Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Loss of Biodiversity in a Neotropical Amphibian Community (Lips et al. 2006)

10)  The Effects of Amphibian Population Declines on the Structure and Function of a Neotropical Stream Ecosystems (Whiles et al. 2006)

11)  The Novel and Endemic Pathogen Hypotheses (Rachowicz et al. 2005)

12)  Ranavirus prevalence in cattle-access and non-access wetlands (Gray et al. 2007)

13)  Recommendations for Wetlands Buffers: Amphibians and Reptiles (Semlitsch and Bodie 2003)

14)  Recommendations for Riparian Buffers: Salamanders (Crawford and Semlitsch 2007)

Spring 2007 Readings:

1)      Amphibian Deformities and Ribeiroia Infection (Johnson and Sutherland 2003)

2)      UV-B Radiation Hypothesis (Blaustein et al. 1998, American Zoologist 38 :799-812)

3)      Effects of Clearcutting on Appalachian Salamanders (Petranka et al. 1993)

1)      Effects of Even-Aged Harvest on Amphibians in Maine (deMaynadier and Hunter 1998)

2)      Forest Roads as Partial Barriers to Terrestrial Salamander Movement (Marsh et al. 2005)

3)      Influences of Agricultural Land Use of Postmetamorphic Body Size of Playa Lake Amphibians (Gray and Smith 2005)

4)      Principles for Management of Aquatic Breeding Amphibians (Semlitsch 2000: Journal of Wildlife Management 64:615-631)—Need to get from library.   



Papers for Discussions:

            Community Ecology:

(1)   Morin (1983)

(2)   Fauth and Resetarits (1991)

(3)   Wellborn et al. (1996)

Landscape Ecology:

(1)   Gulve (1994)

(2)   Gibbs (1998)

(3)   Marsh and Trenham (2001)

Invasive Species:

(1)   Kiesecker and Blaustein (1998)

(2)   Nystrφm et al. (2001)

(3)   Phillips et al. (2003)

(4)   Beard and Pitt (2005)



Internet Resources:

Lectures:  Test 1

                   “Tennessee Anuran Identification”             “Tennessee Anuran Identification” (PDF)

                             Podcast1: Course introduction and identifying Tennessee anurans by specimen and call (Part I)       

                             Podcast2: Identifying Tennessee anurans by specimen and call (Part II)

                             Podcast3: Identifying Tennessee anurans by specimen and call (Part III)

                   “Tennessee Salamander Identification” (PDF)

Podcast: Identification and life history of common Tennessee salamanders (Guest Lecturer: Matthew Niemiller, UTK)

                   “Amphibian Phylogeny and Evolution” (PDF) (Jason Hoverman, UTK)

Podcast1: Amphibian characteristics, taxonomy, and evolution (in part)

Podcast2: Amphibian characteristics, taxonomy, and evolution (in part)

                   “Global Amphibian Declines” (PDF)

Podcast1: Current Status of Amphibians and Hypotheses for Declines (in part)

Podcast2: Hypotheses for Declines (in part)

                   “Amphibian Reproductive Strategies” (PDF) (Guest Lecturer: Dr. Sandy Echternacht, UTK)

Podcast: Reproductive Strategies and Parental Care

“Courtship and Mating” (PDF)

Podcast: Amphibian courtship and mating stategies

“Tadpole Development and Metamorphosis” (PDF)

Podcast: Tadpole development, ecology, and metamorphosis

“Tadpole Dissection Lab” (PDF)

“Phenotypic Plasticity” (PDF) (Jason Hoverman, UTK)

Podcast1: Phenotyptic plasticity (lecture 1)

Podcast2: Phenotyptic plasticity (lecture 2)

Lectures:  Test 2

“Estivation and Hibernation” (PDF) (Sommai Janekitkarn, UTK, student presentation)

          Podcast: Strategies for amphibians to withstand xeric and cold conditions

“Amphibian Predator Defenses” (PDF) (Megan Campbell, UTK, student presentation)

          Podcast: Amphibian predator defense strategies

“Amphibian Parasites” (PDF) (Nikki Maxwell, UTK, student presentation)

Podcast: Common parasites infecting amphibians

“Amphibian Sampling” (PDF) (Guest Lecturer: Liz Burton, TVA)

Podcast: Larval and post-metamorphic amphibian sampling techniques

“Effects of Silviculture” (PDF) (Dalles Phillips, UTK, student presentation)

Podcast: The impacts of forestry practices on amphibians

“Roads and Urbanization” (PDF) (Chris Ogle, UTK, student presentation)

Podcast: How do roads and cities impact amphibians?

“Pesticides” (PDF) (Guest Lecturer: Dr. Rick Relyea, University of Pittsburgh)

Podcast: Impacts of pesticides on aquatic communities.

“Phenotypic Plasticity in Tadpoles” (PDF) (Guest Lecturer: Dr. Rick Relyea, University of Pittsburgh)

Podcast: Factors driving phenotypic plasticity in tadpole communities.

“Amphibian Malformations” (PDF) (Nathan Haislip, UTK, student presentation)

                   Podcast: Causes of amphibian malformations

“Chytrid (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) Declines in Panama” (PDF)      (Guest Lecturer: Roberto Brenes, SIU)

                   Podcast:      “Chytridiomycosis:  An Emerging Infectious Disease of Amphibians”

“Ranavirus” (PDF)

                   Podcast: Not available – equipment malfunction.

“Amphibian Diseases and Pathology” (PDF)        (Guest Lecturer: Dr. Debra Miller, UGA)

          Podcast:      “Amphibian Diseases and Pathological Evidence”

“Amphibian Conservation” (PDF)

                   Podcast:      “Amphibian conservation strategies”


TWRA Amphibian Identification: 

LEAPS Anuran Identification:             

Video Clips of Frog Calls:        

TWRA Salamander Identification:

Amphibians of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park (Dodd 2003):  

Southeast Tadpole Identification:

ARMI 5-year Report (Amphibian Declines):  

Global Amphibian Assessment:            

USGS Field Guide to Malformations of Frogs and Toads:  

PARC Habitat Management Guidelines for Amphibians and Reptiles of the Southeastern United States:

Previous WFS 433/533 Websites

Spring 2007: