PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Date of Award
Committee Chair or Co-Chairs
Rebecca Pyles, Istvan Karsai, Daniel Connors, Andrew Joyner, Thomas Ecay
The southern Appalachian Mountains have among the highest salamander diversity in the world, largely due to local speciation in the family Plethodontidae. Plethodontid salamanders (i.e., lungless salamanders) are particularly sensitive to habitat climate conditions due to their reliance on cutaneous respiration, and their immediate environmental conditions (microhabitat) likely influence their dispersion and activity more than the large-scale atmospheric conditions. The Northern Gray-cheeked salamander (Plethodon montanus) is restricted to high elevations in the Appalachian Mountains. Our goal was to investigate the relationship between P. montanus and its microhabitat by examining behavioral preference for climatic conditions, characterizing the microclimate with small-scale models, and testing for differences in stress hormones at different elevations. We found that behavioral preference is most restricted by relative humidity, microclimate models predicted far less prevalence at lower elevations than typical coarse-scale models, and stress hormones were elevated at a low elevation plot compared to a high elevation plot.
Dissertation - embargo
Chapman, Trevor, "Importance of the Microhabitat and Microclimate Conditions in the Northern Gray-cheeked Salamander (Plethodon montanus) Across an Elevation Gradient" (2022). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Paper 4146. https://dc.etsu.edu/etd/4146
Copyright by the authors.
Available for download on Monday, January 15, 2024