Wildlife Tech Class of 2016
Scarsdale High School
Mentor: Nicole Fusco (Fordham) and Chris Nagy (MRG)
Project: The Effect of Habitat Fragmentation on the Movements of Eurycea bislineata
Project Status: Completed
Steam salamanders, such as the two-lined salamander Eurycea bislineata, are important members of the terrestrial and aquatic food webs. They can be used as indicators of ecosystem health as well. In particular, the genetic structure of these semi-mobile vertebrates can tell us about how fragmented a landscape and watershed is. As a complement to a larger genetic study on the population structure of two-lined salamanders in the Mianus Watershed and several streams in New York City, Signe captured and marked 284 salamanders with a harmless dye in two tributary streams that flow into the Mianus River. Each stream was bisected by a road and Signe hoped to see how much and how far salamanders moved on both sides of the road and from one side to another.
Signe found far more movement within the same sides of streams compared to across the road, even when movement distances were similar. This indicates that roads are hampering salamander movements and likely leading to genetic differentiation on opposite sides of the roads. This hypothesis will eventually be tested using genetic samples from these sites.