Date of Award


Degree Name

Biological Sciences


College of Science

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Thomas K. Pauley

Second Advisor

Mary Etta Hight

Third Advisor

Donald Tarter


A study was conducted from May 1998 through June 1999 in three streams associated with mountaintop mining and valley fills in Boone County, West Virginia. Streamside salamander communities were monitored in these streams, as well as in two relatively undisturbed reference streams in the region, using refugia bags, rock-on-rock methodology, and day surveys. The relative abundance of salamanders was compared between the streams in order to detect effects of the associated valley fills to downstream biota. Relative abundance was lower in two of three streams associated with valley fills as compared to the reference streams. However, there was no significant difference between the relative abundance of salamanders in the stream with the oldest valley fill and the reference streams. These results indicate that while there may be an effect on the salamander communities due to the valley fill initially, over time these communities appear to recover. Additional studies should be conducted to determine specific impacts to the communities. Observed impacts varied among valley fills stream and include age of the fills, disturbance of riparian area, availability of cover objects, flow and volume of water, and unknown variables such as water chemistry and other human disturbance.


Dusky salamanders - West Virginia.

Desmognathus fuscus - West Virginia.

Salamanders - Ecology - Boone County (W. Va.)

Mountaintop removal mining - Environmental aspects.