Date of Graduation
Master of Science in Biology (MS)
Second Committee Member
Capture-mark-recapture, Desmognathus Brimleyorum, Population Biology, Salamanders, Timber Harvest
With anthropogenic alteration of landscapes increasing world-wide, managed forests are increasingly important as providers of ecosystem services including habitat for numerous wildlife species. It is crucial to maintain a balance between timber production and conservation of biodiversity on managed landscapes. Salamander populations can play key roles in the function and diversity of temperate forest ecosystems. Several studies have reported negative effects of forestry on terrestrial plethodontid salamanders, but less research has focused on stream-dwelling species, evaluated mechanisms driving observed shifts in abundance, or described the dynamics of populations residing in managed forests. Using a Before-After-Control-Impact design, we examined the effects of clearcut timber harvesting on a stream-dwelling salamander endemic to the Ouachita Mountains, Desmognathus brimleyorum. We specifically focused on two possible mechanisms of salamander abundance shifts, survival and movement. We conducted a capture-mark-recapture (CMR) study at three streams within intensely managed pine forests in west-central Arkansas from May 2014-October 2016. The pine stands surrounding two of the streams were harvested following state Best Management Practices (BMPs) (leaving a 28-42 m wide forested stream buffer) in January 2015 and 2016, respectively. We also explored effects of seasonal, site, and age variation on the capture probability, recapture probability, temporary emigration, abundance, and apparent survival of D. brimleyorum with robust design CMR models. Overall, our models provided evidence for seasonal and temporal variation in salamander survival and abundance, but little evidence for strong immediate effects of timber harvesting. However, there was increased salamander movement at the sites where harvesting occurred. The results of this study will help inform management decisions aimed at conserving biodiversity and ecosystem integrity in landscapes managed for timber production.
Halloran, Kelly Marie, "Population Dynamics of Ouachita Dusky Salamanders (Desmognathus brimleyorum) in a Managed Forest Landscape" (2017). Theses and Dissertations. 2578.