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Tuesday, January 30 • 1:40pm - 2:00pm
SYMPOSIA-06: The Influence of Landscape Factors and Prescribed Fire on the Occupancy Dynamics of Blue-Spotted Salamanders

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AUTHORS. John P. Vanek, Richard B. King - Department of Biological Sciences, Northern Illinois University; Gary A. Glowacki, Natural Resource Division, Lake County Forest Preserve District

ABSTRACT. The Blue-spotted Salamander (Ambystoma laterale) is one of the most common salamander species in forested regions of the upper Midwest, but little is known of its basic ecology, let alone responses to management. The effects of prescribed fire on midwestern amphibians are poorly known although research suggests that salamander abundance may be negatively influenced by spring burns. To address these knowledge gaps, we used artificial cover objects to collect presence/absence data on adult Blue-Spotted Salamanders in 58 forest preserves under active management in northeastern Illinois. We surveyed 232 permanent monitoring plots from 2009 – 2015 and used landcover and burn data to construct dynamic (multi-season) occupancy models. Over the 7 years, we detected Blue-spotted Salamanders at 85 sites (37%) across 28 preserves (48%). Probability of detection ranged from 4% to 65% and was positively influenced by proximity to woodland pools and forest habitat. Similarly, site occupancy was positively influenced by percent forest cover and the presence of a nearby woodland pool, ranging from nearly zero to 83%. We observed 47 colonization and 23 extinction events and found minimal evidence that prescribed burns impacted these vital rates. Instead, we found that site persistence was related to percent forest cover: sites with 50% whereas sites with forest cover > 50% had

Tuesday January 30, 2018 1:40pm - 2:00pm CST