Occupancy Modeling and Disease Susceptibility of Montane Salamander Species in Western North Carolina

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Desiree' Joy Moffitt (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site: https://library.appstate.edu/
Lynn Siefferman

Abstract: Amphibians worldwide are in a state of decline. Their declines could be caused by habitat destruction, chemical pollution, UV-B irradiation, exotic species, exploitation, climate change, and disease. Monitoring at-risk populations allows researchers to determine which populations are experiencing declines, provides data for future population comparisons and allows researchers to determine the causes of decline. I conducted surveys of terrestrial salamanders (Caudata, Plethodontidae) on Grandfather Mountain, Avery Co, NC from 2010-2011 in six plethodontid taxa, including Plethodon welleri, a species of special concern in North Carolina. I estimated occupancy and detection probabilities, and determined how environmental variables influenced these probabilities. In each species, I assessed abundance of the amphibian chytrid fungus, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. Tree assemblages best explained occupancy in all species except P. montanus, which was found at all sites for an occupancy estimate of 1, and Desmognathus orestes, whose top model suggested that occupancy was constant across sites. I sampled 308 plethodontid salamanders for the presence of B. dendrobatidis. Molecular analysis of skin swabs indicated no positive salamanders. These data can be used to help assess changes in its distribution and prevalence, providing baseline information for future studies of B. dendrobatidis.

Additional Information

Moffitt, D.J. (2012). Occupancy Modeling and Disease Susceptibility of Montane Salamander Species in Western North Carolina. Unpublished master’s thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2012
Batrachochytrium dendrobatidi, Plethodontidae, Plethodon, Occupancy model , chytrid

Email this document to