Amanda Kissel

DSC_0014I recently defended my PhD and I am continuing on for the the summer as a postdoc with Wendy at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia. I am part of the Earth to Ocean research group, and I’m interested in how we can use life-history data to both forecast declines and the potential for recovery within a population or a species.  I’m taking a demographic modeling approach to elucidate specific points within the life-cycle of a population that are particularly vulnerable to decline, or on the flip side, can be targeted for improvement through conservation measures. My work covers a wide spectrum of current conservation issues, from how to recover a population on the brink of extirpation, to how climate change will affect currently stable populations of montane amphibians. The common thread that ties my research together is providing a strong, quantitative framework for decision-making (present and future) that is grounded in the biology of a species.

Since 2010, I have worked with the B.C. Oregon spotted frog recovery team to evaluate the tradeoffs between various recovery strategies for this highly imperiled species.  Specifically, I have focused on the potential of two common population supplementation strategies, head-starting and captive breeding, to reduce the extinction probability of a declining population.  Using demographic data I have collected over the past three years on Oregon spotted frogs  (Rana pretiosa) in B.C., I am developing models that include both a biological and economic component to recovery, with the ultimate goal of providing the recovery team with a suite of viable options to stem the decline of the species in Canada.

7Lakes-8496In addition to my endangered species work, in 2013 I jumped on board with Maureen Ryan and Wendy to explore the effects of climate change on montane amphibians in the Pacific Northwest.  I am working on a thread of this large, collaborative project with the goal of forecasting the response of Cascades frogs (Rana cascadae) to changes in climatic regime.  I am now collecting baseline data on landscape-level larval mortality of R. cascadae induced by pond-drying. These data will be used along with long-term demographic data to “add up” the effects of climate change on different life-history stages of this species to determine the overall response of the species across its distribution.


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Kissel A.M., Palen W.J., Govindarajulu P., Bishop C.A. 2014. Quantifying ecological life support: the biological efficacy of two alternative supplementation strategies for imperiled amphibian populations. Conservation Letters. doi: 10.1111/conl.12093

Popescu V.D., Kissel A.M., Pearson M.M., Palen W.J., Govindarajulu P., Bishop C.A. 2013. Habitat selection by Oregon spotted frogs, Rana pretiosa, in British Columbia. Herpetolgical Conservation Biology. 8(3):688-706.

Corn P.S., Muths E., Kissel A.M., Scherer R.D.. 2011. Breeding chorus indices are weakly related to estimated abundance of Boreal chorus frogs. Copeia 2011:3, 365-371 PDF

One thought on “Amanda Kissel

  1. Hi Amanda,
    I am a citizen scientist for a non profit on the Sunshine Coast.

    I would be interested in talking to you about collecting baseline data and long term monitoring of amphibians with climate changing.

    BTW we do not have any bullfrogs on the lower Sunshine Coast. Trying to keep an eye on this.

    Hope to

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