Project Title

The Distribution and Diversity of Plethodontid Salamanders in Southern Greene County, Tennessee

Authors' Affiliations

Megan Southerland, Department of Natural Sciences, College of Science, Technology, and Mathematics, Tusculum University, Greeneville, TN.

Location

Ballroom

Start Date

4-12-2019 9:00 AM

End Date

4-12-2019 2:30 PM

Poster Number

30

Faculty Sponsor’s Department

Other - please list

Department of Natural Sciences (Environmental Science)

Name of Project's Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Conor Keitzer

Type

Poster: Competitive

Classification of First Author

Undergraduate Student

Project's Category

Other Biology, Natural Resources and Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Animal Ecology or Science

Project's Category

Arts and Humanities

Abstract Text

The salamander diversity in the southern Appalachian Mountains is now being threatened, with lungless salamanders (family Plethodontidae) likely the most vulnerable. Multiple environmental factors threaten Plethodontids, and environmental changes uniquely affect each species within this family. Unfortunately, there is a lack of understanding about the current status of salamanders in Greene County, TN that severely limits conservation efforts for lungless salamanders. This study examined local salamander populations’ current distributions and connected salamander abundance and species richness with a subset of environmental factors to determine what areas represent suitable habitat for different Plethodontids. This information was used to develop species distribution models, which were used to identify potential areas of salamander habitat to focus management and conservation efforts. Area constrained surveys were completed at 42 transects within four main areas using a robust, random sampling design. Abiotic and biotic data, along with salamander identification, were documented at each site. Four additional variables were acquired by geographic information system (GIS 10.6). Salamanders were present at 69% of the transects. Our results indicate that salamanders tend to be located at higher elevations, in ravines, and in thicker canopy cover areas. This work will be useful in long-term monitoring and future research as salamander population, habitat, and environmental changes continue to be monitored.

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Apr 12th, 9:00 AM Apr 12th, 2:30 PM

The Distribution and Diversity of Plethodontid Salamanders in Southern Greene County, Tennessee

Ballroom

The salamander diversity in the southern Appalachian Mountains is now being threatened, with lungless salamanders (family Plethodontidae) likely the most vulnerable. Multiple environmental factors threaten Plethodontids, and environmental changes uniquely affect each species within this family. Unfortunately, there is a lack of understanding about the current status of salamanders in Greene County, TN that severely limits conservation efforts for lungless salamanders. This study examined local salamander populations’ current distributions and connected salamander abundance and species richness with a subset of environmental factors to determine what areas represent suitable habitat for different Plethodontids. This information was used to develop species distribution models, which were used to identify potential areas of salamander habitat to focus management and conservation efforts. Area constrained surveys were completed at 42 transects within four main areas using a robust, random sampling design. Abiotic and biotic data, along with salamander identification, were documented at each site. Four additional variables were acquired by geographic information system (GIS 10.6). Salamanders were present at 69% of the transects. Our results indicate that salamanders tend to be located at higher elevations, in ravines, and in thicker canopy cover areas. This work will be useful in long-term monitoring and future research as salamander population, habitat, and environmental changes continue to be monitored.