Terrestrial Salamander Monitoring
The Great Smoky Mountain Institute at Tremont works with students and volunteers to monitor salamander populations and assess habitat preferences.
Terrestrial salamanders are relatively long-lived and are sensitive to changes in their environment, making them ideal indicator species. We are using two types of tree cookies (cover boards) to sample for terrestrial salamanders. We have four sites at Tremont , with each site containing 40 cookies. We are comparing salamander abundance and diversity between the two tree species, as well as between two different forest types (hardwood forest versus Eastern Hemlock forest). This is an ideal project for students to learn about hypothesis testing and the scientific method. We also measure surface temperature under the cookies and assess moisture content to help determine the favored microhabitat requirements of salamanders.
Topic – salamander, amphibian, forest ecology, cover board
Audience - Any age - probably done most easily with 5th grade and up
Location - Great Smoky Mountains National Park, TN, USA
Goals - education, salamander monitoring, research