JDJCSET | Sigma Xi Poster Competition

Title

Exploring salamander populations in Land Between the Lakes using Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Graduate

Major

Watershed Studies

Minor

None

List all Project Mentors & Advisor(s)

Dr. Robin Zhang

Presentation Format

Poster Presentation

Abstract/Description

This project applies spatial analysis techniques to populations of salamanders in Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area (LBL). Presence/absence and abundance data of larval populations of mole salamanders (Ambystoma talpoideum) and spotted salamanders (Ambystoma maculatum) have been collected for the past five years at several ponds in the northern extent of LBL. Relationships between these populations and several biotic and abiotic factors have been explored, but we extend these analyses by including spatial data. We use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to explore the relationships between land cover, elevation, and road and trail proximity among other variables to salamander presence in ponds. We hypothesize that geographic variables associated with hydroperiod, or duration of water retention within a pond, will significantly predict salamander abundances. For example, ponds with increased exposure to sun, via decreased canopy coverage or southern aspect may have a shorter hydroperiod and decreased abundances of salamanders. Data is currently being analyzed, and results are forthcoming.

Affiliations

Watershed Research Institute, Geosciences, Sigma Xi Poster Competition--ONLY

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Exploring salamander populations in Land Between the Lakes using Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

This project applies spatial analysis techniques to populations of salamanders in Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area (LBL). Presence/absence and abundance data of larval populations of mole salamanders (Ambystoma talpoideum) and spotted salamanders (Ambystoma maculatum) have been collected for the past five years at several ponds in the northern extent of LBL. Relationships between these populations and several biotic and abiotic factors have been explored, but we extend these analyses by including spatial data. We use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to explore the relationships between land cover, elevation, and road and trail proximity among other variables to salamander presence in ponds. We hypothesize that geographic variables associated with hydroperiod, or duration of water retention within a pond, will significantly predict salamander abundances. For example, ponds with increased exposure to sun, via decreased canopy coverage or southern aspect may have a shorter hydroperiod and decreased abundances of salamanders. Data is currently being analyzed, and results are forthcoming.