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Tuesday, January 30 • 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Poster Display. Efficacy of Artificial Cover Objects to Monitor Tiger and Blue-Spotted Salamanders

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

ABSTRACT: The Blue-spotted Salamander (Ambystoma laterale) is a species of regional conservation concern in northeastern Illinois and often co-occurs with the more widespread Eastern Tiger Salamander (A. tigrinum). Both species are typically surveyed during a brief window of breeding activity in the early spring after which they disperse and become extremely hard to find. Consequently, they are rarely studied outside of the breeding season. As part of a larger effort to understand the ecology of both species, we tested the efficacy of artificial cover objects as a monitoring tool. We deployed two large (3’ x 4’) and two small plywood boards (1’ x 4’) at 232 randomly-selected permanent monitoring plots (n = 1856 boards) across 58 actively managed preserves. Plots were surveyed either every other year (n = 159) or every four years (n = 74). During years when plots were sampled, boards were checked twice a week during different seasons for a total of 18,668 board checks. From 2009-2016 we detected 1927 Blue-Spotted Salamanders and 217 Tiger Salamanders. The average number of Tiger Salamanders did not differ between large ( x = 1.1) and small boards ( x = 1.3), whereas the average number of Blue-spotted Salamanders under large boards ( = 1.5) was nearly twice that of small boards ( x = 2.6). In addition, the maximum number of Tiger Salamanders was similar between small (3) and large (5) boards, but the maximum number of Blue-spotted Salamanders was much higher for large (27) than small (6) boards. Finally, Blue-Spotted Salamanders were more likely to be found in the spring and summer, whereas Tiger Salamanders had similar rates of detection between seasons. We suggest that artificial cover objects can be used to efficiently monitor Blue-Spotted Salamanders, but this technique is not as efficient for Tiger Salamanders.

Tuesday January 30, 2018 6:00pm - 9:00pm CST
Ballroom C & Foyer