Monitoring Salamander Populations in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Erin J. Hyde and Theodore R. Simons

in Amphibian Declines

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2005 | ISBN: 9780520235922
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520929432 | DOI:
Monitoring Salamander Populations in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

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Recent evidence of worldwide amphibian population declines has highlighted the need for a better understanding of both species-specific habitat associations and methodologies for monitoring long-term population trends. For decades, studies have relied on relative abundance indices to evaluate salamander populations across space and time. However, little effort has been made to evaluate the underlying assumptions of these indices or their relationship to the true population. Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GRSM) is committed to incorporating salamander population monitoring into the park's long-term inventory and monitoring program based on evidence that salamanders are finely tuned indicators of environmental quality. Data from ongoing research in GRSM designed to assess spatial and temporal patterns in salamander diversity and abundance are being used to evaluate sampling effectiveness and bias across a variety of habitats. This chapter presents evidence that some common salamander sampling techniques may not be appropriate indices for salamander abundance and, therefore, may not be suitable methodologies for use in long-term monitoring programs in the southern Appalachians and perhaps elsewhere.

Keywords: salamanders; population declines; sampling techniques; monitoring; Appalachians; abundance; diversity; habitats

Chapter.  2588 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences

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