American Society of Civil Engineers

Development of an Amphibian Biotic Index to Evaluate Wetland Health in Northern Missouri

by C. D. Shulse, (Missouri Department of Transportation, P.O. Box 1067, Highway 61 South, Hannibal, MO 63401 E-mail:, R. D. Semlitsch, (Division of Biological Sciences, 212 Tucker Hall, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211-7400 E-mail:, and K. M. Trauth, (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, E2509 Lafferre Hall, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211-2200 E-mail:
Section: Wetland Mitigation and Water Management, pp. 2658-2668, (doi:

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Document type: Conference Proceeding Paper
Part of: World Environmental and Water Resources Congress 2009: Great Rivers
Abstract: Most amphibians require suitable wetlands for breeding, oviposition, and juvenile development. Newly metamorphosed juveniles disperse into terrestrial habitat where they spend the majority of their adult lives in undisturbed forest or grassland adjacent to the wetland. Development of new infrastructure can result in wetland draining and habitat fragmentation thereby disrupting necessary life history functions. To ensure the long-term survival of amphibians, it is imperative that developers take into account their conservation needs during project planning and construction of replacement wetlands. In order to assist planners and managers in this effort, we present an index that quantifies the biotic integrity of amphibian populations within constructed wetlands throughout northern Missouri. The index is modeled after Ohio’s Amphibian Quality Assessment Index (AQAI) and it incorporates ecological and abundance information for each species inhabiting a wetland. Although refinements will continue, current results indicate this tool can help assess the biological integrity of constructed and natural wetlands. The index can be modified to accommodate regional differences in species’ ecology.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Water quality