Relationships Between Vernal Pool Reptile and Amphibian Species Composition and Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) Egg Mass Density in the North Carolina Piedmont

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2023-04-25

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Abstract

Spotted salamanders (Ambystoma maculatum) are essential indicators of vernal pool health, yet little research has identified the effects of interspecies interactions on spotted salamander oviposition. In this study, I evaluated the relationships between vernal pool reptile and amphibian species composition and spotted salamander egg mass density within Durham and Orange County. I observed significantly higher egg mass densities in pools with more Salamandrid, Viperid, and Scincid species despite threats of predation. High egg mass densities were also correlated with the presence of early breeding spotted salamanders and more acidic pH levels. Results suggest that spotted salamanders select breeding sites based on environmental conditions, rather than in avoidance of predation or resource competition. These findings are likely influenced by scarcity of optimal breeding habitat within the study area due to history of urbanization and agricultural land use.

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Fajardo, Marisa (2023). Relationships Between Vernal Pool Reptile and Amphibian Species Composition and Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) Egg Mass Density in the North Carolina Piedmont. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/27104.


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