June 21, 2008

A Hopeful Find

In this age of declines in global amphibian populations, signs of hope are often hard to come by. On my recent research trip into Yosemite National Park, I made one of those rare hopeful finds. My field crew and I were hiking through a forested low elevation portion of the Park and approached a small stream flowing through a meadow. As I neared the stream, a Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog jumped from the shore into a nearby pool and disappeared. I'd crossed the stream at this very spot numerous times before and had never seen an amphibian. Had I imagined the frog? A quick search upstream and downstream turned up numerous other adults, subadults, and tadpoles. Had they been here all along? If so, why had we never found them previously? If they hadn't been here all along, where did they come from? In all of our survey work, we'd found no other Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog populations anywhere in the vicinity. Regardless of the answers to these questions, finding a new frog population is always a rare and welcome discovery. It certainly made my day.

More in a week when I'm back from my next trip into the backcountry.

Back to The Mountain Yellow-legged Frog Site.


  1. Just checking...are you aware of the frog population at lake 11,444 1 mile south of Pinchot Pass? We saw frogs and tadpoles here on the south side of the lake.

  2. Yes, we've surveyed this population numerous times since 1997. Unfortunately, most of the frogs in Pinchot Basin succumbed to an outbreak of the amphibian chytrid fungus in 2004. Let's hope that the remaining frogs hold on.