Document Details

Document Type:   Thesis
Title:   Terrestrial Habitat Use of Marbled Salamanders Ambystoma opacum: A Site Specific Approach
Author:   Frank Piccininni
College:   Science
Degree Program:   Biological Sciences, M.S.
Degree:   Master of Science
Committee Director:   Thomas Pauley
Document Availability:   Document available for World-Wide access.
Date of Defense:   04/23/2008

Habitat destruction, fragmentation and degradation have contributed heavily to the decline of amphibian populations such as Marbled Salamanders (Ambystoma opacum). Often, ambystomatid water resources are conserved without consideration for the equally important terrestrial habitat. This is partly due to a lack of information regarding the relationship between ecological succession, plant community composition, microhabitat and salamander abundance. Three sampling transects consisting of drift fence arrays, vegetation assessments and microhabitat surveys were extended 100 m into the terrestrial habitat surrounding a seasonal wetland at Beech Fork State Park in Wayne County, West Virginia. Principal components analysis was used to identify habitat gradients. Stepwise multiple regressions were used to develop predictive models for Marbled Salamander abundance using raw data and principal components. Models predicted much of the variation in my data set r2 = .9974, .8804 for raw data and principal components respectively. Inverse Distance Weighting was used to explore spatial relationships between variables. This study suggests that Marbled Salamanders are associated with late seral forests, and a high abundance of microhabitat.  

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