Title

Aquatic Habitat use of Alpine Tiger Salamanders

Presenter Information

Alex WoolenFollow

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Graduate

Major

Watershed SCience

Presentation Format

Poster Presentation

Abstract/Description

An Animal’s use of habitat depends on a variety of factors, and is influenced by pressures such as optimal foraging strategy, predator avoidance, reproduction, and thermal metabolic requirements. This project investigates the effect of individual size, sex, and life-stage on the habitat use and site fidelity of tiger salamanders. For this project I used data collected in the summer of 2018 on a population of facultatively paedomorphic tiger salamanders in the Mexican Cut Nature Preserve near Gothic Colorado. This population has been monitored for the past 30 years by Dr. Howard Whiteman, and the majority of the individuals have been implanted with PIT tags. During the 2018 field season, Christian Brown walked the perimeter of all ponds at the Mexican Cut with a PIT tag detector which was capable of detecting PIT tags from in situ animals. He recorded the exact locations of individuals in the ponds, and sampled each pond several times during the field season. Using this data and Dr. Whiteman’s mark/recapture data I estimated individual site fidelity. I used kernel density maps to look for patterns in occupancy based on length, sex, and life stage. Length was negatively associated with site fidelity suggesting that larger animals are better able or more willing to take advantage of a larger geographic area. Individuals were somewhat clustered based on sex, suggesting that males and females have different habitat preferences. There was no evidence to suggest that larval individuals use different habitat than paedomorphic adults.

Spring Scholars Week 2019 Event

Sigma Xi Poster Competition (Juried)

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Aquatic Habitat use of Alpine Tiger Salamanders

An Animal’s use of habitat depends on a variety of factors, and is influenced by pressures such as optimal foraging strategy, predator avoidance, reproduction, and thermal metabolic requirements. This project investigates the effect of individual size, sex, and life-stage on the habitat use and site fidelity of tiger salamanders. For this project I used data collected in the summer of 2018 on a population of facultatively paedomorphic tiger salamanders in the Mexican Cut Nature Preserve near Gothic Colorado. This population has been monitored for the past 30 years by Dr. Howard Whiteman, and the majority of the individuals have been implanted with PIT tags. During the 2018 field season, Christian Brown walked the perimeter of all ponds at the Mexican Cut with a PIT tag detector which was capable of detecting PIT tags from in situ animals. He recorded the exact locations of individuals in the ponds, and sampled each pond several times during the field season. Using this data and Dr. Whiteman’s mark/recapture data I estimated individual site fidelity. I used kernel density maps to look for patterns in occupancy based on length, sex, and life stage. Length was negatively associated with site fidelity suggesting that larger animals are better able or more willing to take advantage of a larger geographic area. Individuals were somewhat clustered based on sex, suggesting that males and females have different habitat preferences. There was no evidence to suggest that larval individuals use different habitat than paedomorphic adults.