Date of Award


Degree Name

Biological Sciences


College of Science

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Jayme L. Waldron

Second Advisor

Anne C. Axel

Third Advisor

Thomas K. Pauley

Fourth Advisor

Shane M. Welch


Habitat fragmentation negatively affects movement and dispersal of wildlife by altering useable space and creating barriers. The objective of this study was to assess impacts of fragmentation by roads and trails on the movement behavior of two terrestrial, woodland salamander species. I evaluated whether proximity to roads and trails affected the movement behavior of two species: the Peaks of Otter Salamander (Plethodon hubrichti), a species of special concern, and the Eastern Red-backed Salamander (Plethodon cinereus). I examined movement behavior in three treatments: paved roads, gravel roads and hiking trails. I compared treatments to controls located at least 200m from treatment edges to assess movement behavior based on fragmentation type. I detected salamanders by flipping cover objects during the day. I tracked movement patterns using a fluorescent pigment powder applied to each individual. I mapped and measured each powder trail to quantify travel distance and direction. I analyzed treatment and abiotic effects on movement behavior. I failed to detect a significant effect of treatment or distance from the treatment edge on individual foraging movements. Analysis indicated that abiotic factors including moon phase and precipitation were significant predictors of movement. This study provided additional insight into plethodontid movement patterns. Research will require managers to consider road and trail effects when designing and implementing long-term management plans for the survival of species within the Peaks of Otter area and other regions of the Appalachian Mountains.


Salamanders - Habitat - Environmental aspects.

Salamanders - Life cycles.

Salamanders - Ecology - Appalachian Region.