GLRC Awarded Projects – 2019 Funding Cycle
Assessing the Effects of Cattail Treatment on Methane Emissions from Lake Ontario
Principal Investigator:Â Rachel Schultz, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Environmental Science and Ecology, The College at Brockport
Collaborator: Michael Chislock, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Science and Ecology, The College at Brockport
How does the eradication of invasive plants, e.g., cattails, influence the capacity of freshwater wetlands to sequester or release methane, a potent greenhouse gas? This project will use a new mobile technology to sample methane gas emissions from three restored marshes and a meadow marsh not invaded by cattails at the Braddock Bay Wildlife Management Area, located west of Rochester, N.Y. This research will also measure belowground environmental conditions to model methane fluxes over time and estimate carbon storage at each site.
Food Web Impacts and Contaminant Transfer by the Tubenose Goby (Proterorhinus semilunaris)
in the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Basin
Principal Investigator: Roxanne Razavi, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental and Forest Biology, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
Collaborator: John Farrell, Ph.D., Professor of Aquatic Sciences and Fisheries Science, Department of Environmental and Forest Biology, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and Director, Thousand Islands Biological Station, Clayton, NY
It is unclear why the Tubenose Goby, a relative of the established invasive species, Round Goby, is increasing in abundance in the northeastern Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River basin. This project will determine the diet and habitat preferences of both species, evaluate the importance of each species to the diets of predators, and assess each species for its potential to act as a vector of mercury to higher trophic level fishes.
Increasing Shoreline Erosion Resiliency using Marine-Based Biopolymers
Principal Investigator: Sherif L Abdelaziz, Ph.D., Department of Civil Engineering, Stony Brook University
Collaborator: Lindsey Gerstenslager, District Manager, Wayne County Soil and Water Conservation District, Lyons, NY
The Great Lakes shorelines, like most of the state and national shorelines, are experiencing increasingly high erosion rates, risking coastal ecosystems. With a focus on the Great Lakes, this project aims to develop a new “soft” technique to increase the erosion resistance, restoration and protection of shorelines nationally, using marine-based biopolymers that are ecosystem- friendly, cost-effective, and use existing soil mixing techniques to apply a biopolymer treatment. The project work includes a series of laboratory experiments followed by a field demonstration and full-scale performance monitoring over the different seasons at a site in Wayne County, N.Y.
Eastern Lake Erie Shore Erosion, Sediment Transport and Depositions under a Changing
Principal Investigator: Ali Farhadzadeh, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, Stony Brook University
Collaborators (4): Henry J. Bokuniewicz, Ph.D, School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, Stony Brook University; Roy Widrig, Coastal Hazards and Processes Specialist, NY Sea Grant, Oswego, NY; and Evyn Iacovitti, Regional Environmental Analyst, and Ron Rausch, Director of Environmental Stewardship and Planning, NYS Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation, Albany, NY
This project will first document the historical trends of the Lake Erie seasonal climate, wave climate and storm surge as well as beach erosion and sediment movements on its eastern shore and then investigate scenarios of potential changes due to a changing climate, using computer modeling to quantify sediment transport and deposition processes following beach erosion.Â The objective is to create a signpost pointing toward future climate change consequences for Lake Erie shores and beaches, in general, and, initially, its eastern shores, in particular.
Towards Complete Removal of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Using a Nanotechnology-Assisted
Advanced Wastewater Treatment Process
Principal Investigators (2): Nirupam Aich, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering; and Ian M. Bradley, Assistant Professor, Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering
Collaborators (2): Diana S. Aga, Professor of Chemistry, University at Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences; and Don Willert, Town of Amherst Wastewater Treatment Plant
Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are organic compounds extensively used in non- sticky consumer products and aqueous fire-fighting foams that are highly toxic to living organisms including fish and humans. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has identified PFAS as a priority for removal from drinking water and food sources. Conventional wastewater treatment processes including biological degradation have not shown significant progress. This project aims to evaluate the efficacy of an innovative wastewater treatment approach using a nanomaterial-based reactive pretreatment followed by a biological wastewater treatment process to completely degrade PFAS compounds and their transformation products.
GLRC Awarded Projects – 2018 Funding Cycle
Assessing Innovative Advanced Wastewater Treatments in Removing Antidepressant Drugs
based on Chemical Analysis and Fish Physiological Responses
Principal Investigator: Diana Aga
Chemistry Department, University at Buffalo
Collaborators: Ning Dai, Alicia Pérez-Fuentetaja, Joseph Fiegl, Helen Domske
This project will evaluate the efficiency of innovative advanced oxidation processes (AOPs) for the removal of antidepressant drugs in wastewater. The specific objectives of this study are to: 1) identify AOPs that are easy to implement in wastewater treatment plant upgrades that can effectively remove antidepressant drugs in wastewater, 2) characterize the persistent AOP transformation products using high resolution mass spectrometry; and 3) assess the ecotoxicity of AOP treated wastewater effluent based on fish physiological responses.
Participatory Models for Identifying Barriers to Climate Adaptation and Resiliency
in New York’s Great Lakes Basin
Principal Investigator: Khris Dodson
Syracuse University Environmental Finance Center
Collaborators: Sharon Moran, Mary E. Austerman, Jayme Thomann, Brian Rahm
This project will identify barriers to climate adaptation in New York’s Great Lakes communities, with an emphasis on local planning processes. The proposed workshops will also be used to build capacity for climate adaptation policy development, revise local plans, educate elected officials and municipal staff on the benefits of coastal resiliency BMPs, and build networks and partnerships between stakeholders. This work builds capacity for climate change adaptation through a systematic approach to diagnosing barriers and community-based research design, paving the way for more successful local plans and Ecosystem-based Management projects.
Degradation of Microcystin in Drinking Water Using Electron Beam Irradiation
Principal Investigator: Mark Driscoll
Department of Chemistry, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
Collaborators: Dianne Poster, Terrance Madden, Richard Galloway
Human activities and global warming, including higher water temperatures, can cause an increase in occurrence and intensity of harmful algal blooms (HABs) worldwide, including blooms of freshwater cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae. One of the most common freshwater blue-green algal HAB species, Microcystis aeruginosa, produces a group of toxins known as microcystins. This project will explore the rapid degradation and detoxification of microcystin in water upon exposure to electron beam irradiation (EBI).
Using Culture-based, Molecular and Modeling Approaches to Identify Point and Non-Point
Sources of Fecal Pollution and Improve Water Quality Predictions at Lake Erie Beaches
Principal Investigator: Lauren Sassoubre
Department of Civil, Structural, and Environmental Engineering, University at Buffalo
Collaborators: Christopher Lowry, Karen Terbush, Keleigh Reynolds, Gabriella Cebada Mora, Jennifer Delaney, Rebecca Wightman
Beaches along the Great Lakes provide important opportunities for recreational activities and are critical for local economics. Microbial pollution at these beaches results in substantial economic loss and poses serious health risks to recreational users and the millions of people whose drinking water is drawn from the Lakes. Beach water quality is frequently monitored and beaches are closed to recreational activity when E. coli concentrations exceed (or are predicted to exceed) US EPA criteria. This research will address coastal microbial pollution and beach closures by (1) identifying sources of fecal pollution in Lake Erie and (2) improving models that predict when beaches should be closed to protect public health.
Use of Nitrogen Isotopes (15N) as an Indicator of Septic Pollution to Sodus Bay
Principal Investigator: Mark Teece
Department of Chemistry, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
Collaborators: Save Our Sodus, Wayne County Soil and Water Conservation District
One of the greatest threats to water quality in the Great Lakes area is nitrogen pollution from human activities including leaking septic tanks. This nitrogen pollution leads to harmful algal blooms (HABs) and dense growth of aquatic weeds. Both the water quality and recreational use of the lakes and embayments are severely impacted by these threats. The goal of this project is to develop a method to determine the contribution of nitrogen pollution from leaking septic systems to freshwater systems to provide the first accurate assessment of this issue.
GLRC Awarded Projects – 2017 Funding Cycle
Assuming the Role of Nitrogen in Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) in the Great Lakes Basin
Principal Investigator: Lisa Cleckner
Finger Lakes Institute, Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Collaborators: NR Razavi, MJ McCarthy, SE Newell
The frequency and severity of harmful algal blooms (HABs) has risen in freshwaters across the Great Lakes basin and beyond. The ability to predict and prevent HABs is impeded by gaps in our understanding of their causes. This project will address a key unknown, namely the role of nitrogen in promoting HABs, and provide complementary information to a parallel study on
HABs that investigates the role of climate-induced changes in lake stratification and phosphorus availability.
Informing Restoration of the Endangered Piping Plover to Lake Ontario
Principal Investigator: Jonathan Cohen
Department of Environmental and Forest Biology, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
Collaborators: Alison Kocek, Jullian Liner, Irene Mazzocchi, Robyn Niver, Patricia Shulenburg
The federally-endangered piping plover, a beach-nesting shorebird once common in the Great Lakes, became extirpated from Lakes Ontario and Erie as of the early 1980’s. Three decades of conservation efforts for the remnant population in the western Great Lakes pulled the species from the brink of extinction and has led to re-colonization of some areas including two nesting pair on eastern Lake Ontario in 2015 (one in NY), followed by an increase to five pairs in 2016 (two in NY). After a 31-year absence, data are critically lacking on the habitat requirements for nesting adults and their young on Lake Ontario beaches, as well as the most important threats to the local population. This project will collect information on reproductive success, habitat use, and limiting factors; will conduct outreach to the public and management agencies regarding the species and our research results; and will continue to build partnerships regarding piping plover conservation in the western Great Lakes.
Economic Value of Controlling Aquatic Invasive Species in New York State
Principal Investigator: Martin Heintzelman
School of Business/Institute for a Sustainable Environment, Clarkson University
Collaborators: Chuan Tang
Invasive species, especially aquatic invasive species (AIS), have already become a serious issue in the Great Lakes Basin and New York State. This study will 1) synthesize existing data to estimate a hedonic price function model of waterfront property values to quantify the effects of several common AIS in waterbodies of New York State; 2) map the distribution of AIS in New York State and correlations between property values and appearance of AIS in waterbodies using geographic information system (GIS).
Influence of Spawning and Nursery Habitat in Shaping the Northern Pike (Esox Lucius) Gut Microbiome
Principal Investigator: Brian Leydet
Department of Environmental and Forest Biology, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
Collaborators: John Farrell
Northern Pike are native to the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River, and provide significant recreational and ecological benefits. However, human activities have negatively impacted pike reproduction habitat in wetlands. Over 50% of wetlands have been lost in Lake Ontario, and degradation of remaining habitat and water level regulations further impede fish reproduction. This project examines fish gut microbiome as a possible indicator of the source spawning habitat and its influence on fish health. Through the creation of microhabitats in controlled fish rearing facilities, we will test whether environmental differences in Northern Pike spawning and nursery sites influence the composition of the fish gut microbiome and how this may affect fish performance.
Studies on mercury mobilization from wetlands along the Upper Saint Lawrence River in support of Ecosystem-Based Management
Principal Investigator: Michael Twiss
Department of Biology, Clarkson University
Collaborators: Erin Eggleston, Thomas Holsen
The creation of the Moses-Saunders power dam (Canada, USA) in 1958 created a situation where water levels in the entire reach of the Upper Saint Lawrence River were maintained at unnaturally low levels of variability between high and low water levels. Plan 2014 is a new water regulation plan that is designed to reduce wetland marshes to pre-dam levels (a reduction of 29%), which will increase biodiversity and ecosystem structure and function. However, preliminary study has revealed that appreciable amounts of mercury are contained in wetlands. Reduction of these wetlands will release the mercury. To determine how much mercury will be released, how rapidly and in what form we propose to expand the preliminary study in addition to begin surveillance of mercury leaving the Upper Saint Lawrence River over a two-year period.
Screening and risk assessment of contaminants of emerging concern in the Onondaga Lake – Three Rivers system
Principal Investigator: Teng Zeng
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Syracuse University
Collaborator: David Matthews
Over the past decade, water quality monitoring in the Great Lakes basin has gradually shifted towards the analysis of an increasing number of polar and persistent compounds, or the so-called contaminants of emerging concern (CECs). While CECs are typically present at low levels in aquatic ecosystems, their occurrence has raised considerable concerns among the scientific community due to potential risks to aquatic life and human health. Only limited information exists, however, concerning the sources and effects of CECs in the Onondaga Lake-Three Rivers system of central New York. This system is of particular interest because it receives large
contributions from domestic wastewater treatment plants, has a long history of industrial pollution, and is a major source of water to Lake Ontario. Our main objective for this project is to apply a suspect screening approach based upon high resolution mass spectrometry to establish concentration patterns of CECs in this lake-river system.
GLRC Awarded Projects – 2016 Funding Cycle
Testing a metabarcoding approach to food web analysis: application to mysid diets in Lake Ontario
Principal Investigator: Matthew Hare
Department of Natural Resources, Cornell University
Collaborators: Lars Rudstam
Mysids are one of the major zooplankton predators in Lake Ontario and other Laurentian Great Lakes and consistently identified as a key component in food web models of these lakes. Mysids also feed on phytoplankton and their role as predators depends on the relative importance of phytoplankton and zooplankton in their diets. Quantifying diets of these animals and other omnivorous zooplankton is therefore central to our understanding of food web dynamics in the Great Lakes, and by extension, the ability of these lakes to support a sustainable fishery. This project will test multiple assays to determine methods yielding the most comprehensive and accurate data on mysid diet.
Analysis of a Large Multi-Lake Dataset to Advance Understanding and Management of Harmful Algal Blooms in New York State
Principal Investigator: David A. Matthews
Upstate Freshwater Institute
Collaborators: Kimberly Schulz, Scott Kishbaugh, Nancy Mueller
Harmful algal blooms (HABs) are an increasing threat to water quality of both small and large lakes and the health of lake users within the Great Lakes Basin. Despite a rich scientific literature on cyanobacterial blooms, the factors causing recent proliferation of HABs are not fully understood. For example, a number of lakes in New York with relatively low concentrations of total phosphorus have recently experienced unexpected HABs. Even for eutrophic lakes, major knowledge gaps exist in understanding how different physical, chemical, and biological factors interact to create the conditions that can trigger HABs. Although a number of researchers have constructed empirical predictive models of blooms within individual large lakes, cross-system comparisons are rare. The Citizens Statewide Lake Assessment Program (CSLAP) has collected limnological data on more than 100 lakes a year since 2000, and has included HAB sampling (including cyanotoxin analyses) since 2011. This project will utilize the CSLAP data, supplemented with additional available data, to identify factors associated with HABs across these diverse systems.
Assessing causes and impacts of thiamine deficiency in salmonid fish from Lake Ontario
Principal Investigator: Jacques Rinchard
Department of Environmental Science and Biology, The College at Brockport
Collaborators: Brian Lantry, Steve LaPan
Thiamine deficiency leading to early mortality syndrome is a reproductive disorder affecting salmonid species in the Great Lakes. The objective of this collaborative effort will evaluate how diets of salmonids in Lake Ontario can affect thiamine concentration in their eggs that could potentially lead to early mortality syndrome. This project directly addresses how to restore native fish and wildlife biodiversity and habitats to achieve and sustain resilient ecosystems and vibrant economies, and is relevant to the assessing the health of Great Lakes fishes.
NYGLPF Awarded Projects - 2015 Funding Cycle
Non-native bloody red shrimp in the Great Lakes Basin: Developing novel mothods for early-detection and quantifying interaction with fish in New York State
Principal Investigator: Meghan Brown
Department of Biology, Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Collaborators: Brent Boscarino, Bruce Smith
The bloody-red mysid, Hemimysis anomala (hereafter Hemimysis) is a recent Ponto-Caspian invader that was first reported in North America in 2006 and has become established in the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence River, inland lakes (Oneida, Seneca, and Cayuga Lakes, New York), the Seneca-Cayuga Canal and the Erie Canal. Hemimysis represent a new type of organism in these systems and is a potential threat to native species in the Great Lakes basin. This grant will: (1) develop novel methods of early detection for Hemimysis, which are currently lacking and needed for research, management and monitoring programs, and (2) elucidate which, and to what extent, naturalized fish species consume Hemimysis.
The use of low-altitude unmanned helicopter remote sensing to detect invasive plant species in the Erie Canal System: method development applied to water chestnut (Trapa natans)
Principal Investigator: Tao Tang
Department of Geography & Planning, Buffalo State College
Collaborators: Mary Perrelli, Christopher Pennuto, Joseph J. Gould
This project will develop a transferrable protocol to use low-altitude unmanned vehicle technology to perform rapid detection and coverage estimation of invasive species. We will perform a pilot study of water chestnut in Tonawanda Creek and the Erie Canal system from its western terminus east to Rochester by sampling 100, 500-m lengths of shoreline. Researchers will also perform visual searches over the same shorelines from a boat to estimate UAV and image analysis accuracy. Sightings and coverage estimates will be uploaded into iMapInvasives, an internet-based invasive species distribution database used by the NY PRSM network, NY DEC, NY Park, and several other northeastern states. This proof-of-concept research will provide the state’s natural resource community with estimates of costs, identification accuracy, and coverage estimation for rapid detection of invasive species.
The past is the key to the future: Can we use water isotopes to reconstruct rain and lake effect snowfall during past warm climates?
Principal Investigator: Elizabeth Thomas
Department of Geology, University at Buffalo
Collaborator: Loren Smith
The purpose of this project is threefold: 1. Assess the seasonality of leaf wax hydrogen isotopes (d2Hwax) in Western New York as starting point for a larger project to reconstruct rain and snow variability during warm climates. 2. Address an outstanding question in the climate reconstruction discipline: what season does d2Hwax record? There are currently many hypotheses based on studies of modern plants (Kahmen et al., 2013: Sachse et al., 2015; Tipple et al., 2013), but there are no studies based on modern lake sediments, which are analogous to the samples that we use to reconstruct past climate. This is a simple but important study, with the potential to produce highly cited publications. 3. Develop and assess the effectiveness of an outreach program using water resource issues as a starting point to discuss climate change.
NYGLPF Awarded Projects - 2014 Funding Cycle
Understanding the synergistic impact of aquatic invasive species, global climate change, and harmful algal bloom dynamics on Lake Erie
Principal Investigator: Sarah Delavan
Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering,
State University of New York at Buffalo
Collaborators: Joseph Atkinson, William Edwards
The specific objective of this project is to quantify water quality and velocity characteristics near the sediments in relatively shallow sites in Lake Erie that have been colonized by invasive quagga mussels and to compare them to non-colonized sites. This summer Drs. Edwards, Delavan, and Atkinson, along with UB PhD student, Brandon Sansom, and NU undergraduate student, Kimberly Alexander were able to sample multiple sites in Lake Erie in both the eastern and western basins. During the month of July, the team collected water samples and water velocity measurements at several heights above the sediment in the western basin of Lake Erie near the Buffalo Outer Harbor and the mouth of the Niagara River. The team was also able to collect similar measurements in the eastern basin of Lake Erie during the historic Harmful Algal Bloom outbreak of August 2014 that negatively affected the drinking water of millions of people along the shoreline of Lake Erie. The team was able to capture samples to determine water velocities, dissolved and particulate phosphorus concentrations, nitrogen concentration, chlorophyll concentrations, turbidity, density, conductivity, depth measurements, and sediment type. Over the next few months, the team members will be analyzing the data to be used in Kimberly Alexander’s senior undergraduate thesis and potentially used in a MS thesis at UB. The team will also be creating a sampling plan for the summer 2015 field season.
Two New Techniques for Evaluating Connectivity of Septic Fields to Great Lake Watersheds and Embayments
Principal Investigator: Paul Richards
Department of Earth Sciences, SUNY Brockport
Collaborators: David Whitcroft, Brian Beha, Andrew Mendola
Our project, Two New Techniques for Evaluating Connectivity of Septic Fields to Great Lake Watersheds and Embayments, tests whether Pictometry True Color Oblique Imagery can be used to map septic fields in watersheds. We have started the project and have focused our efforts in Oakfield Township, located within the Upper Oak Orchard Creek Watershed. Of the 37 septic fields mapped by the Genesee Orleans County Department of Health, 49% were able to be identified with LiDAR and oblique imagery. The sites that were not identifiable tended to be located underneath tree canopies or were indicated as simply “septic tanks” according to Genesee County DOH Records. Imagery taken in the late spring (April) seemed to be more useful for identifying the leach fields. Leach fields were identifiable as a set of dark lines where it appeared the grass was longer and darker (Figures A-C). Some septic fields appear to have dark discolorations that appear to be related to drainage (see A). Raised septic fields were also sometimes identifiable from hill shades developed from 1 meter DEMs (LiDAR). So far we have mapped 117 septic fields that predate the available mapping. In the second part of the project, we are testing whether a new DNA groundwater tracer can be used to determine the time it takes for septic leachate to reach a water body.
Assessment of Plastic Pollution Migration into the Great Lakes Food Web
Principal Investigator: Sherri Mason
Department of Chemistry, SUNY Fredonia
Collaborators: Jason P. Lewis, Donald Einhouse
The intention of this project was to examine the gastrointestinal tracts of a wide variety of Lake Erie fish species, as well as the Double-Crested Cormorant, a primarily fish-eating waterfowl, in order to assess the potential migration and bioaccumulation of plastic pollution into the Great Lakes food web. To-date we have analyzed 18 species (17 fish species and the cormorant) from multiple trophic levels and have eight more fish species awaiting analysis. Every species analyzed thus far has contained some amount of plastic, though some individual specimens have not. Depending upon the species anywhere from 75-100% of specimens contained microplastic particles. Counts per specimen and per species are highly variable, as could be expected given differing size, trophic level and feeding habitats. It does appear that lower trophic level organisms have smaller counts, which increase with the trophic level, but this might simply be due to the larger size of the organisms, rather than bi-omagnification. More in depth data analysis will be required to fully glean a complete understanding of the preliminary results obtained thus far (in addition to those which are still in process).
NYGLPF Awarded Project - 2011 Funding Cycle
Hydrofracking the Marcellus Shale: The Impact of a Gas Drilling Accident on Wallace Mine Fen, Moshannon State Forest, PA
Principal Investigator: Douglas A. Wilcox
Department of Environmental Science and Biology, SUNY Brockport
Collaborator: Andie Graham
In 2009, Marcellus Shale gas-drilling company, EOG Resources, was fined $30,000 by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) after several violations occurred at two well sites located on private land adjacent to Mashannon State Forest in Clearfield County, PA. Of these violations, there were three separate accidents that resulted in the deposition of flowback water and frack fluids into Alex Branch, a small, sandy-bottom steam that flows through Wallace Mine Fen. Contaminated water also infiltrated the ground upslope from the fen. Water testing conducted by the PA DEP indicated elevated levels of barium, strontium, manganese, chloride, total dissolved solids, and specific conductance, all of which are typical of Marcellus well discharge water. At the time of the accident, no research was conducted to evaluate the potential impacts to the Wallace Mine Fen. In 2012, we initiated a study to determine the ecological impacts of the accidents on Wallace Mine Fen. We used a nearby wetland, Crystal Spring Bog (actually a fen), as a control and sampled amphibians, birds, vegetation, fish, aquatic macroinvertebrates, and water quality (pH and specific conductance) at both sites. Crystal Spring Bog and Wallace Mine Fen are very similar wetlands. Both have similar underlying geology that is dominated by sandstone, shale, clay, and coal. Both have similar hydrology; they are fens with similar groundwater and surface water chemistry. There are also similarities in taxa composition; no major differences were detected in birds, aquatic invertebrates, fish, or vegetation between the two wetlands. There were, however, significant differences in amphibians between the two wetlands, despite both wetlands providing ample suitable habitat for amphibians. Therefore, results suggest that the accidents at EOG well 8H and 9H may have decreased amphibian species richness at Wallace Mine Fen. Not knowing the exact date of the gas well drilling accidents or the exact chemical composition of the fracking fluids used a the wells make it difficult to determine how amphibians were affected. This study underscores the importance of collecting baseline data in areas where hydrofracking is anticipated so that impacts of any future accidents can be evaluated more thoroughly.