Evaluation of terrestrial and streamside salamander monitoring techniques at Shenandoah National Park

Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

Special issue containing the Mid-Atlantic integrated assessment working conference : proceedings of the First Symposium on the Mid-Atlantic Integrated Assessment Program (MAIA), Baltimore, MD, USA, 30 November-2 December 1998. 5487_Jung.pdf
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In response to concerns about amphibian declines, a study evaluating and validating amphibian monitoring techniques was initiated in Shenandoah and Big Bend National Parks in the spring of 1998. We evaluate precision, bias, and efficiency of several sampling methods for terrestrial and streamside salamanders in Shenandoah National Park and assess salamander abundance in relation to environmental variables, notably soil and water pH. Terrestrial salamanders, primarily redback salamanders (Plethodon cinereus), were sampled by searching under cover objects during the day in square plots (10 to 35 m2). We compared population indices (mean daily and total counts) with adjusted population estimates from capture-recapture. Analyses suggested that the proportion of salamanders detected (p) during sampling varied among plots, necessitating the use of adjusted population estimates. However, adjusted population estimates were less precise than population indices, and may not be efficient in relating salamander populations to environmental variables. In future sampling, strategic use of capture-recapture to verify consistency of p's among sites may be a reasonable compromise between the possibility of bias in estimation of population size and deficiencies due to inefficiency associated with the estimation of p. The streamside two-lined salamander (Eurycea bislineata) was surveyed using four methods: leaf litter refugia bags, 1 m2 quadrats, 50 x 1 m visual encounter transects, and electric shocking. Comparison of survey methods at nine streams revealed congruent patterns of abundance among sites, suggesting that relative bias among the methods is similar, and that choice of survey method should be based on precision and logistical efficiency. Redback and two-lined salamander abundance were not significantly related to soil or water pH, respectively.

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Evaluation of terrestrial and streamside salamander monitoring techniques at Shenandoah National Park
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Environmental Monitoring and Assessment
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Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
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Environmental Monitoring and Assessment
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