A Long Hike Down

As part of my dissertation, I have been visiting many streams and creeks throughout the Sierra Nevada to search for foothill yellow-legged frogs (Rana boylii). One of the goals is to better understand not only the current range of the species, but also to use genetics as a tool to assess how populations have changed within and because of the landscape they inhabit. What does that mean in plain language? Well, to start we don’t know what the elevational limit is for the species…most experts in the field would say populations are primarily found below 5,000 feet, with most found below 4,000 feet. However Stebbins (2005 guide) shows records recorded over 6,000 feet. So I’ve been searching canyons and creeks in the American watershed to get a better sense of the elevation range for this species. 1