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CMU graduate student studies tiny frog population decline in Michigan

Photo Courtesy: Travis Rainey

A tiny frog species is considered threatened in Michigan and a Central Michigan University graduate student is trying to figure out why.

The population of Blanchard's Cricket Frog has been declining since the 1970s. The frogs are about the size of a quarter and they like to live by bodies of water. It’s habitat stretches from Mexico north to near Lansing.

Travis Rainey is a CMU graduate student who has spent a little over a year researching the frogs. He said the species is considered threatened in Michigan.

“I think what's interesting in with this species is that there's still hope and there's a lot that can be done and there's enough time to plan for the future," said Rainey. "And that's what keeps me going and motivates me.”

Rainey said there are a number of factors that could affect the frog’s declining population in Michigan. He said habitat loss and heavily farmed areas are probably having the biggest impact.

“Might not matter so much if one species is lost but at a certain point, it's like there might be some niche that is missing, and this can be filled by some other species," said Rainey. "But if enough, niches are left open that could really affect the overall biodiversity and health of an ecosystem.”

Alexis Seeley is a journalism major from Macomb, MI. Alexis is going into her fourth year at Central Michigan University.