Community Ecology & Conservation of Salamanders
The Southern Appalachians are a hotspot of salamander diversity. Currently, students in my lab have three projects focusing on salamander community ecology, disease, and conservation biology. My MS student, Desiree’ Moffitt is investigating how community ecology and population size of five species of Plethodontid salamanders varies with elevation on Grandfather Mt., NC. With the help of an Honors’ student, Keeley Zimmerman, she is using molecular techniques to understand the prevalence of chytridmycosis and determine the importance of ecological and environmental factors structure the prevalence of this disease.
With Worth Pugh (an incoming graduate student) and Dr. Mike Gangloff, we are studying how habitat and landscape influence the demographics and larval recruitment of hellbender salamanders (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis) in the Watauga River drainage. Animals will also be sampled for chytridmycosis. Finally, Worth has helped the lab begin a long-term study of the reproductive behaviors and life-history evolution of spotted salamanders (Ambystoma maculatum).
Lynn Siefferman, Ph.D.
572 Rivers St
Appalachian State University
Boone, NC 28608