Date of Award


Degree Name

Biological Sciences


College of Science

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Jayme Waldron

Second Advisor

Thomas K. Pauley

Third Advisor

Anne Axel

Fourth Advisor

Shane Welch


Environmental acidification is affecting stream-associated species around the globe. As a result, different management strategies have been implemented to deal with acidification resulting from acid rain and acid mine drainage. Adding limestone to streams attempts to reverse the effects of acidification. While liming increases the pH of many acidic environments, studies involving the effects of liming on different animal species have shown mixed results. In this study, I examined the effects of liming on Gyrinophilus porphyriticus (the Spring Salamander) abundance and I also determined the best method of detection for G. porphyriticus. From June 10th to September 1st 2013, I used multiple methods (i.e., leaf litterbags (LLB), visual encounter surveys (VES), and area constrained flip and search methods (FS)) to sample G. porphyriticus within 11 streams in the Monongahela National Forest, West Virginia. Using N-mixture models, which allow for estimations of abundance from count data and account for imperfect detection probabilities, I examined the effects of direct application liming (DAL) on G. porphyriticus abundance. I found that distance from the DAL site and lime frequency were important predictors of G. porphyriticus abundance. These results should be considered, and can inform managers to possible negative effects on salamander communities and other stream organisms. As a separate research project I also estimated occasion-specific estimates of detection and used ANOVA to determine if detection probability differed among the three sampling methods. I found that the FS method yielded higher detection estimates than those from LLB and VES. In addition, using basic occupancy models, occupancy estimates derived from FS sampling changed drastically when compared among other single method models, suggesting that LLB and VES gave biased estimates of occupancy related to a low probability of detecting G. porphyriticus at occupied sites. In conclusion, efforts to monitor G. porphyriticus should rely on FS for sampling populations to maximize detection probability to reduce costs and increase effectiveness for large, widespread research projects.


Acidification -- Environmental aspects -- Research -- West Virginia