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Tuesday, January 30 • 1:20pm - 1:40pm
SYMPOSIA-06: Weather Patterns and Habitat Usage of Adult Eastern Tiger Salamanders in the Prairie Pothole Region of West-Central Minnesota

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AUTHORS. Katherine Novak, Heather Waye - University of Minnesota Morris

ABSTRACT. The Prairie Pothole Region is a key ecosystem in Minnesota as its mixture of prairie and wetlands allows for an abundance of wildlife. The widespread loss of this ecosystem to agriculture and development has likely had a negative impact on numerous species. Basic information about some of these species is lacking, therefore, we need to better understand the habitat requirements of the organisms that occupy this region. One of these organisms is the Eastern Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma tigrinum), which utilizes both prairie and wetland habitats in the Prairie Pothole Region. Metamorphic tiger salamanders breed in ponds in the spring, and then generally move upland and live underground. The factors that prompt this movement from the aquatic to terrestrial habitat, and the requirements of metamorphic salamanders in each habitat, are not clear. We tracked a total of twelve adult salamanders between May and October 2016 using radiotelemetry, and collected associated weather and habitat data. The salamanders occupied the breeding ponds until later in the season, and used the ponds more extensively, than expected. Longer movements between sites were usually preceded by precipitation events, particularly a wide-scale movement from aquatic to terrestrial locations. Associations between movement data and habitat occupation and abiotic factors such as humidity, temperature, and water depth will be explored.

Tuesday January 30, 2018 1:20pm - 1:40pm CST