Date of Award

1999

Degree Name

Biological Sciences

College

College of Science

Type of Degree

M.S.

Document Type

Thesis

First Advisor

Thomas K. Pauley

Second Advisor

Donald Tarter

Third Advisor

Michael Little

Abstract

The purpose of this thesis research was to study the natural history of the northern spring salamander Gyrinophilus p. porphyriticus in West Virginia. The objectives of this study were to determine the environmental characteristics of the habitat of Gyrinophilus p. porphyriticus, to determine its reproductive biology, and then examine non-reproductive aspects of the natural history of the species. Study sites were located at the Westvaco Wildlife and Ecosystem Research Forest (WWERF) in Randolph County, West Virginia. Four sites on three streams were divided into two 25m transects. All sites were examined once each month from August 1997 through November 1998 with the exception of January and February 1998 due to bad weather. I did not find any one significant environmental factor to limit the distribution of the northern spring salamander. There were differences among some sites for barometric pressure, pH, and water temperature. Differences in stream depth and width were found among some study areas. Larvae were observed in lower water depths when compared to the average stream depths at each stream. No egg masses were found. Metamorphosis occurred mostly in the summer based on larvae observed. Size classes of larvae were hard to determine but could be as short as four years or as long as seven years. Only one recapture out of 80 marked individuals were observed. In June, a severe flood occurred on the WWERF in the middle of my study that will be discussed in relation to my research since it may be an important factor in the overall natural history.

Subject(s)

Salamanders - West Virginia.

Gyrinophilus - West Virginia.

Westvaco Wildlife and Ecosystem Research Forest (Randolph County, W. Va.)

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