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Monday, April 9 • 5:30pm - 7:00pm
POSTER: Impacts of the Landscape Context on the Abundance and Body-Size of Eastern Red-backed Salamanders

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AUTHORS: Victoria Schneider*, Amanda Deguire, Emily Donahue, Thilina Surasinghe – Bridgewater State University

ABSTRACT: Red-backed salamanders are widely-distributed much of eastern North America. They are sensitive to anthropogenic disturbances particularly clear-cutting. Here, we studied how their abundance vary across different habitats (of variable sizes) located in urban vs rural landscapes. Additionally, we studied the temporal variations of their abundance at each habitat as well. Our study was conducted at two Audubon Sanctuaries in southeastern Massachusetts- Moose Hill and Oak Knoll- the former was a large forest patch (size=7.26Km2) located in a rural landscape with greater landscape-scale connectivity while the latter is a small forested area (size=0.20Km2) located in an urban landscape where remnant forests are highly fragmented. In each sanctuary, we set up cover boards (1x1ft pinewood) arranged into four perpendicular transects, each transect with five pairs of cover boards. We surveyed these cover boards in 2016-2017, and documented the number of individuals and their snout-vent lengths (SVL). Although total abundance of Red-backed salamanders did not differ significantly between the urban vs rural landscapes or between different years, the overall abundance differed significantly across different months. Additionally, the interaction (landscape-year and landscape-month) were significant predictors of overall abundance indicating that temporal (seasonal) variation in overall abundance of Red-backed salamanders were not consistent between urban and rural landscapes (Permutation ANOVA). The SVL of Red-backed salamanders differed significantly between urban and rural landscapes; both the year and month were significant predictors of SVL while none of the interaction terms were significant. We concluded that small-sized reserves embedded in urban landscapes are effective for conservation of Red-backed salamanders suggesting that these salamanders are capable of utilizing smaller habitat patches despite adversities of the edge effects. However, salamanders occupying rural landscapes were greater in SVL implying greater survival and higher fitness benefits conferred by larger contiguous conservation lands.

Monday April 9, 2018 5:30pm - 7:00pm CDT
Monroe Room

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