Slide 15 of 25
We chose the marbled salamander as our model organism for two reasons. The first is that it is listed as Threatened in Massachusetts. The second is that we know quite a lot about it, thanks to work in our lab by Lloyd Gamble, Chris Jenkins, Brad Timm, and Kevin McGarigal. They have surrounded 14 neighboring vernal pools with drift fences, and have been marking and capturing animals for the past five years. In this time, they have marked over 11,000 juveniles. Animals that were marked early in the study as juveniles are now returning to the pools as adults. Of these adults, 15 have dispersed to pools other than their natal pools. This allows us to estimate dispersal rates. We’re talking about true dispersal, not migration--to qualify as dispersal, an individual must breed in a pool other than its natal pool. Our estimate of dispersal rates is preliminary, but will improve as more data come in. We used this estimate of dispersal rates to parameterize the model.