NGRREC Research Interns Hear the Call of the Swamps

Article by: Jessica Mohlman, National Great Rivers Research and Education Center,

The swamps of southern Illinois are enchanting, often making visitors feel as if they have been transported to the most remote areas of the southeast. Within these beautiful remnant bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) and water tupelo tree (Nyssa aquatica) swamps lies a unique inhabitant, the bird-voiced treefrog (Hyla avivoca). The calls of the bird-voiced treefrog may perk up any birder’s ears, but those familiar with the species know that it is not a feathered friend making those rapid bird-like whistles. Rather it is a small, understudied state-threatened amphibian. 

Each summer the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center (NGRREC), located in East Alton, offers upper-level undergraduate students from across the nation the opportunity for hands-on experience in the world of ecological research. Over the summer of 2021, Brooke Prater and Catherine Nguyen had the opportunity to learn more about the state-threatened bird-voiced treefrog and its habitat. Their research will help researchers and wildlife managers better understand the small treefrog species with the bird-like whistle.

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