Team Frog in Action

The 2016 field season got off to a truly craptacular beginning when wildfires ripped through the city of Fort McMurray 3 May 2016. 
More than 80,000 people were forced to mass evacuate that night.
Wildfires raged through the area for weeks. 
The first neighbourhoods were allowed back at the beginning of June while other neighbourhoods are just beginning the years-long process of rebuilding. 

For the field contingent of Team Frog 2016, our first order of business was to flee the city, stay safe and stay sane. Tall marching orders, indeed.
Then we all had to come back to Fort Mac, pick up our lives, and stay safe and stay sane.
Even taller orders, to say the least.

Despite the upheaval and chaos, Team Frog 2016
pulled off a completely successful field season.

Team Frog 2016 Field Crew
Erica Ellingsen and Bhoomi Tripathi.
Tough as nails, fantastic can-do attitudes.
They made the 2016 field work happen.

Lukas Mundy (long-standing member of Team Frog, L) and 
Tiffany Stilwater (new honorary member of Team Frog, R) 
showing off their field gear finery and beautiful smiles on this 
blisteringly hot June afternoon.
Photo taken 150 km N of Fort McMurray 29 June 2016

Some of our long-term sites were hit hard by the fires.
There weren't even invertebrates in this wetland 
more than 6 weeks after the fire. 

Other long-term wetlands were spared direct hits by the fire 
despite massive burns less than 200 m away in every direction.
Wildfires are truly fickle beasts.

Some of our wetlands are inhabited by gorgeous 
speckly wood frogs, like this one encountered in July 2016. 
Always a treat!

The exquisite beauty of a recently metamorphosed boreal chorus frog.
Encountered going about its business at the pond in July 2016.

The youngest member of Team Frog, Miss Carmen, 
arrived on the scene in July 2016.
I'll have to see about getting her a bug jacket so she'll be ready for 2017!

Joe-Felix Bienentreu, PhD student
Mr. Bienentreu joined Team Frog in January 2015 to work on 
his PhD. He is being jointly supervised by Danna Schock and David 
Lesbarrères (Laurentian University). His project is examining the role 
of amphibian community composition on ranavirus dynamics. 
His field work takes place in northern Alberta and the Northwest Territories. 

Dr. Shathi Akhter, Postdoctoral Researcher.
Shathi joined Team Frog in January 2013. When she isn't wrestling data sets, 
Shathi helps out in the field. She is an extraordinary tadpole whisperer. 
Shathi presented some of our work on metals levels in amphibians and 
wetlands at the Canadian Ecotoxicity Workshop in Saskatoon in Oct 2015.

Team Frog 2015 - The Canada Day Crew
L-R: Bruce Pauli, Erica Crespi, Joe-Felix Bienentreu, 
Shathi Akhter, Travis Seasborn, Krysta Dawson
Not the best photo but gathering this assortment of souls in the
same place at the same time makes it worth overlooking the aesthetic 
shortcomings of the photo. Photo taken in the Keyano parking lot 1 July 2015.

I swear I don't tell everyone to dress the same but it does look 
like Team Frog has a uniform of sorts. From L-R Chrissi Sheppard, 
Karli Matthews, Emily Hicks, Joe Bienentreu and Shathi Akhter.

Team Frog... not really in action.
Karli, Travis and Krysta just waiting for the helicopter. 

Things one can do while not really in action: Try to take pictures of
toadlets in the creek using an iPhone until the helicopter finally shows up.
Photos taken at a remote site about 100 km east of Fort McMurray in July 2015.

Team Frog 2015 and 2016 - Honorary Member Christine Godwin
Chris often gives Team Frog members demos of how to band and
measure tree swallow nestlings at field sites around Fort McMurray. 

Team Frog 2014
L-R: Donny Ash, Emily Hicks, Shathi Akhter, Karli Matthews, Danna Schock.
One would be hard-pressed to find a more dedicated, more fun group of souls to chase frogs with in the beautiful boreal forest. Photo taken west of Fort McMurray July 2014.

A special thank you to Mr. Ash for being the official 
Team Frog 2014 photo-documentarian.

Team Frog 2014 - Honourary Members
L-R: Chantal Dings-Avery, Hannah Wiseman, Kellie Menard.
These fearless wetland biologists are members of 
Dr. Jan Ciborowski's lab. Their skills in frog wrangling are exceptional.
Photo taken mid-June 2014 near Fort McMurray. 

Team Frog 2013 Field Crew
Clockwise from lower left: 
Lisa Rusnac Howie, Rebecca Paton, Jennifer Arneson, Taylor Bell.
Photo taken early May near Fort McMurray, Alberta

Team Frog 2012
Clockwise from Left Karen Webber (technician), Jessica Hoehne (student research assistant), Aisha Goulden (student research assistant), Danna Schock.
Photo taken early May near Fort McMurray, Alberta

Team Frog 2011
L - R: Jhoyli Labrador, Danna Schock, Jessica Hoehne
Photo taken in Fort Chipewyan, June 2011

Frogs are held individually in new plastic bags with lots of air 
and a bit of moist vegetation until we measure them,
collect a tissue sample, and then let them go again. We avoid 
accidentally spreading diseases among the frogs by holding 
the frogs individually in the plastic bags and using clean nitrile 
gloves when we take the tissue samples. Our equipment
is also disinfected between sites.

Tadpoles are measured and staged according to Gosner stages.
Tadpoles are gently held in a clean plastic bag while being 
examined to prevent accidentally spreading diseases among
individuals. The tadpole in this picture was released moments 
after the picture was taken; it swam away quickly.

In early spring, we count the number of egg clutches at each site 
and chart their development so we can compare across sites.

Team Frog 2013 learning to use the conductivity and pH meters.

Drying the feet during lunch break. 

And speaking of feet..... 
Troll-foot is kept at bay by washing boots inside and out 
and hanging them to dry, every single day.

Emily and Karli collecting water quality data. 

Danna measuring and weighing a wood frog pond-side while 
lots of bugs keep us company.

Rebecca, Taylor and Jen en route to a remote site 
50 km west of Fort McMurray, May 2013.

Aisha & Jessica cleaning equipment back at the lab.

Taylor preparing tissue samples in the field.

Traffic back-up due to an accident one evening. 
It took 2 hours to travel 40 km back into Fort McMurray. 
Picture was taken from the top of Supertest Hill, southbound on Highway 63. 
Miles and miles of muddy white company trucks with buggy whips.

Headed home from a site too wet for the helicopter to shut down 
when we get dropped off and picked up. 
Loud and windy!