Simulating wood frog movement in central Minnesota, USA using a diffusion model

Randall B. Boone, Catherine M. Johnson, Lucinda B Johnson

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12 Scopus citations


An important determinant of amphibian dispersal from vernal pools and colonization of other pools is the intervening land cover. We hypothesized that forest fragmentation alters the likelihood of amphibians reaching other pools. We used a correlated random walk diffusion approach to model wood frog (Rana sylvatica) movements. Our movement modeling was based upon 19,957 captures of wood frogs, including 397 movements among pools. Euclidean distance alone explained 46% (Poisson regressions, all p < 0.001) of the variation in movements, and a correlated random walk model without spatial data explained 62%. Using slope and a Landsat tasseled cap image of spring wetness, 77% of variation in movements was explained. Wood frog movements in Cloquet were modeled well without using surfaces that include forest openings. However, pool-scale analyses of movement have shown a relationship with forest fragmentation, and there is a secondary relationship between forest openings and spring wetness, which was used in modeling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)255-262
Number of pages8
JournalEcological Modelling
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Sep 15 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Our thanks go to Tom Hollenhorst, Anh Ly, Jennifer Olker, and Heather Malmstrom. We also thank the landowners who provided us with access to their land. The comments of two anonymous reviewers and the Editor helped to improve the manuscript. The research was funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's STAR program through grant R 827642-01-0; however, it has not been subjected to any EPA review and therefore does not necessarily reflect the views of the Agency, and no official endorsement should be inferred.


  • Diffusion
  • Modeling
  • Rana sylvatica
  • Remotely sensed images
  • Vernal pools
  • Wood frog


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