THE POPULATION BIOLOGY OF THE SPOTTED SALAMANDER, AMBYSTOMA MACULATUM, INHABITING PENN STATE ERIE WETLANDS

Two wetland systems on the campus of Penn State Erie, the Behrend College, are under development pressure stemming from the construction of the East Side Access Highway and from expansion of the college. Both wetland systems are important breeding habitat for the spotted salamander, Ambystoma maculatum, which has extensive requirements for both wetland and terrestrial habitat during its life history. Though this species is prevalent in many vernal wetland systems in Pennsylvania, very little is known about how changing landscapes resulting from development, road construction, and wetland mitigation affect this species. The goals of this study were to: 1) describe the population biology of A. maculatum on the Penn State Erie campus, 2) use this information to assess the possible effects of campus development and the construction of the East Side Access Highway on the salamanders, and 3) recommend mitigation strategies that will minimize harmful effects of road construction on the salamanders. Data were collected between 1995 and 1999, and the results reported in this document address genetic variation and reproductive isolation of the populations, the temporal and spatial patterns of the reproductive migration, the abundance and distribution of the reproductive adults, and the importance of the upland habitat for the number and quality of migrating adults. From this study, the authors can conclude that the wetlands on the Behrend campus support a large, genetically-homogenous population of A. maculatum. However, sufficient variability is present for them to conclude that some degree of reproductive isolation exists between populations in different wetland complexes. The population is genetically distinct from others in the eastern United States. The authors also can conclude that the A. maculatum populations are dependent upon the area and quality of the upland habitat surrounding the breeding wetlands.

Language

  • English

Media Info

  • Features: Appendices; Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 67 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00800552
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 2K05, III-9905
  • Files: TRIS, STATEDOT
  • Created Date: Oct 31 2000 12:00AM