Dr. Gavin Lawson
Degree Award Date
Amphibians, Constructed Wildlife Pools, breeding habitat, Shenandoah Valley, United States Forest Service, George Washington National Forest
Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecology | Zoology
The goal of this study was to determine whether wildlife pools created by the United States Forest Service in the George Washington National Forest are good breeding habitat for frogs and salamanders, contributing new individuals to local amphibian populations. I analyzed historical data of 35 ponds and sampled local aquatic communities using dip nets, minnow traps, and drift fences with pitfall traps. Analysis of the data showed that southern ponds tended to be frog-dominated whereas northern ponds tended to be salamander-dominated, and that certain species did tend to associate, particularly Lithobates sylvaticus and L. clamitans, as well as Ambystoma macu/atum and A. jeffersonianum. Further analysis revealed a correlation between general pond characteristics and species composition with the smallest ponds being salamander- dominated, intermediately sized ponds being frog-dominated, and the largest being dominated by newts (Notophthalmus viridescens). Additionally, L. sylvaticus and A. jeffersonianum preferred to emerge with an east or west orientation, but more research is needed to determine causes for trends in directionality.
Fisher, Priscilla, "Monitoring Amphibian Use of Constructed Wildlife Pools in the Shenandoah Valley" (2010). Honors Projects. 103.