Using Crowdsourced Observations to Study Road Mortality in Idaho’s Amphibians and Reptiles

Julie S. Meredith, Patrick D. Giltz, and Dr. Charles R. Peterson, Department of Biological Sciences, Idaho State University, 921 South 8th Avenue, Pocatello ID 83209

Collisions with vehicles are an important source of mortality for many species of amphibians and reptiles. The objective of this study was to use crowdsourced observations to study taxonomic, temporal, and spatial variation in roadkilled amphibians and reptiles in Idaho. We searched over 8,000 records from museum specimens, Roadkill & Salvage Highway Mortality Reports from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, a dedicated road mortality research project by Jochimsen (2006), and crowdsourced observations from the Idaho Amphibian and Reptile iNaturalist Project through 2019. Using text data (e.g., roadkill or DOR) from all sources and photographs from iNaturalist, we identified a total of 660 records, nearly 25% of which were crowdsourced. We summarized these records by taxonomic group (class, order, and species), geographic location, and time (year and month). There was an overwhelmingly high number of snake mortalities compared to all other groups, with Gopher Snakes (Pituophis catenifer) accounting for over 55% of all roadkill records. Three areas in Idaho have received the most research and roadkill observations, including (1) Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area; (2) Portneuf watershed; and (3) the Idaho National Laboratory site, while there appears to be a lack of data from northern Idaho. The number of roadkill observations per month shows a bimodal distribution with peaks in the spring and fall. The number of observations per year is generally increasing over time, with crowdsourcing accounting for the majority of most recent observations. This information should be useful for efforts to reduce an important cause of mortality for these animals.

Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Julie Meredith

Institution: Idaho State University

Type: Poster

Subject: Biology

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 2
Date/Time: Mon 3:00pm-4:00pm
Session Number: 2583