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Harvard Forest Symposium Abstract 2014

  • Title: The state of terrestrial amphibians at Harvard Forest’s Hemlock Removal Experiment (HF-HeRE), 2013
  • Primary Author: Ahmed Siddig (University of Khartoum)
  • Additional Authors: Aaron Ellison (Independent)
  • Abstract:

    Amphibians, including salamanders, are declining worldwide as the climate changes and natural disturbances increased. Because amphibians are sensitive to disturbances, they are thought to be efficient and effective “indicator species” that can be used to monitor local environmental changes. At Harvard Forest, terrestrial amphibians are an important component of forest biodiversity and may be changing in abundance and composition as hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) declines.

    The overall goal of this project is to assess the current state of the amphibians’ populations occurred in Simes plots at Harvard Forest Hemlock Removal Experiment (HF-HeRE). In particular, we are interested in evaluating the effects of habitat types and seasons on the abundances, composition, and demographic structure of two forest floor amphibians: Red-backed Salamander (Plethodon cinerus) and Eastern Newt (Notopthalmus viridescens);

    Data were collected on biweekly basis from June – September, 2013 at the Simes Tract of Harvard Forest (Petersham, MA), where eight 90 × 90-m HF-HeRE plots are located. Using cover boards along transects as sampling technique, we established in each plot two 75-m transect and placed on each, five cover boards with 15-m apart from each other. Then during the actual sampling sessions we identified, counted, measured (TL and SVL), and sexed each individual animal that captured underneath the cover board before to be released.

    We will show preliminary data on salamander species composition as a function of habitat types and treatments. We also will report data on abundances and size structure of the two focal species with respect to habitat types, treatment, and season (summer vs. fall).

  • Research Category: Biodiversity Studies, Physiological Ecology, Population Dynamics, and Species Interactions